The beautifully preserved colonial towns of Minas Gerais, a state located in south-eastern Brazil, are steeped in history. Their intricate churches and beautiful buildings tell the tale of Brazil’s Portuguese influence and the 18th century gold rush.
Rich in gold, iron and gemstones, many made their fortunes in Minas Gerais under Portuguese rule during the 17th and 18th century gold rush. Today, the wealth of the region can be seen in the exquisite Baroque architecture of its towns, which are some of the finest across the continent.
Ouro Preto is the jewel of the region and one of Brazil’s best preserved colonial towns. It was the center of the gold rush in its heyday, with prospectors traveling here from all over to seek their fortune. Today the town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its astounding Baroque architecture, which you can see by strolling along its winding streets past elegant colonial houses, fountains and elaborately decorated churches embossed with gold.
Continue on to Tiradentes, a pretty town filled with colourful colonial-style houses and churches. The Church of Saint Anthony, built in the early 18th century, is particularly impressive with its dazzling gold foil interior. The town itself is incredibly picturesque, with quaint antique shops, beautiful mountain scenery and charming cobbled lanes.
When you’re not admiring its architectural treasures, you can make the most of the regions natural beauty by taking long hiking trails, horse-riding excursions and trips to hidden caverns and waterfalls.
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