Ouro Preto, MG – Brasil

What is there to say about Ouro Preto! Incredible is not enough to describe the warmth and how welcoming the place is. It was built during 18th century’s gold rush and an once thriving mining town, it is now home to one of Brazil’s best universities, UFOP. It is very much an university town, so they really know how to party! Its “republics” (student homes with their own laws) are the greatest source of fun and getting to know people.

Back in the day, not only in Brazil, but in many other places, there were botherhoods, usually the rich, that were devoted to a particular saint. Their way to show off their wealth was to build churches! One group built a beautiful church full of gold and art? The next would try to build it bigger and brighter! Once you arrive in the town, you can clearly see the churches dominating the skyline. It is home to the second richest church in Brazil, the Matriz do Pilar, with around 450Kg of gold decorating its altar.

During the late 18th century, the world was home to many revolutions: The French Revolution, American Revolution… Brazil was not different. One of the main revolutions, the Inconfidencia Mineira, took place mainly in Ouro Preto and brought forward one of the main Brazilian heroes, Tiradentes. He fought for brazilian independence and was hanged by the portuguese for it, in the main square of the town (The picture below used to be the prison where he was held., at Tiradentes Square). A little grim piece of history, but illustrates a little more about the place.

The town is, together with Congonhas, Mariana, Tiradentes, Sao Joao Del Rey and Sabara, the best examples of Brazilian Baroque art and architecture in the country.

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