Visiting Ouro Preto in Brazil

South America - Editor - 11 August 2011

Visiting Ouro Preto in Brazil

The name Ouro Preto means "Black Gold". The town is located in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil. This colonial town has been preserved so well that is has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. Due to its historical value, noteworthy sites and abundance of attractions, Ouro Preto is one of the most visited destinations in the country. Foreign visitors flock to this picturesque site each year, to take in its magnificent sites, explore its beauty and travel back in time by visiting its wonderful attractions that have preserved the heritage of the town.

Because of the gold rush, the town of Ouro Preto was established in the year 1698, and became the leading city where prospectors and miners would bring their gold to be weighed, measured and then sold. It developed so rapidly that it became the capital town of the state in 1720, and went on to grow to have a population of over a hundred and ten thousand residents by 1750. At the time that was double the amount of residents in New York. The town became famous for its large gold trade industry, and after Brazil gained its independence in 1822, First Emperor Dom Pedro I, gave the town the title of being an Imperial City. The first pharmacy school of South America was opened here in 1839 and the School of Minas (teaching metallurgy and art of mining) was established in 1876.

Visitors will be able to reach the town from Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte. Belo Horizonte is the closest city to which visitors can fly, and then either travel to Ouro Preto by bus or car. The town is small enough to explore on foot, and its cobblestone streets wind their way through the structures. Some of the recommended attractions in Ouro Preto include Casa Bandeirista da Fazenda Sao Jose do Manso, the Itacolomi State Park, Teatro Municipal, Praca Tirandentes and Museu do Cha.

Ouro Preto has numerous museums to visit including Casa dos Contos, Casa Guigard, Museu do Oratorio, Museu de Arte Sacra and Museu de Mineralogia. Architecture enthusiasts will be captivated by the magnificent historical churches in town, such as the Igreja da Nossa Senhora de Carmo (1766), Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Pilar (1731), Capela do Padre Faria (1710) and many more. Four of the old mines are open to visitors for exploration, with Mina Velha (1704) being the oldest in Ouro Preto. The town also celebrates a few festivals throughout the year, and visitors are guaranteed to enjoy an unforgettable experience in Ouro Preto.


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