Araxa Tourist Attractions
AraxáSituation and CharacteristicsThe thermal spa of Araxá lies 374km/232mi west of Belo Horizonte in central Minas Gerais, near the Triângulo Mineiro ("Mining Triangle"), the westernmost tip of Minas Gerais state, which is bordered on the south by São Paulo, on the west by Mato Grosso do Sul and on the north by Goiás.Bus stationPraça Antìnio Alvez da CostaHistoryThe Araxá region, which was brought into cultivation in the gold rush days by bandeirantes (the armed pioneers who pushed forward into the Brazilian hinterland), became a place of refuge for runaway slaves, who banded together in quilombos (fortified camps) and soon began to threaten the lines of communication between São Paulo and the bandeirantes' settlements in Goiás. Later the town became known for the love affair between Dona Beja, the "witch of Araxá", and the justice of the peace of the neighboring town of Paracatu. In the early years of the 19th century Dona Beja - one of the most notable women in the history of Minas Gerais - was a leading figure in the upper ranges of local society.
São SebastiãoIn Avenida João Sena is the church of São Sebastião, built in 1780. The chapel is particularly fine, sculptures of St Sebastian and body of Christ.
Museu Dona Beja
Museu Dona BejaIn Praça Coronel Adolfo is the Museu Dona Beja, with 18th century furniture, furnishings and costumes. It is housed in an early 19th century two-story building with verandas modeled on the Palácio da Ouvidoria in Paracatu, the scene of Dona Beja's romance.
Mineral springs8km/5mi from Araxá town center on the Barreiro road are the Dona Beja Springs (containing bicarbonates, calcium and magnesium, and radioactive) and the Andrade Júnior Springs (containing carbonates, sulphur and sodium).
BarreiroThe spa of Barreiro, which is famed for its mineral springs, also has mud baths which are used in the treatment of skin diseases, rheumatism and arthritis, as well as saunas and a warm swimming pool. It offers the additional attraction of a beautiful setting (forest, waterfall, lake).