City Center, Ouro Preto
São Francisco de Assis
On Largo de Coimbra, in the town center, is the beautiful Franciscan church of the Third Order, São Francisco de Assis. To the French art historian Germain Bazin it is "one of the most perfect works of art of the Western world, one of those works which, wholly created by one man, reproduce the original basic idea with complete fidelity". Aleijadinho was responsible not only for the design of the church, which is in the form of an irregular octagon, but also for the sculpture on the main doorway, the lavabo in the sacristy and all the wood-carving in the choir chapel and on the other six altars. The trompe-l'oeil painting on the ceiling of the nave (1800-10) ranks as the masterpiece of Manuel da Costa Ataíde, the greatest painter of the colonial period. It depicts the Assumption in lively, tropically vivid colors; the Virgin herself is a mulatto.
Museu da Inconfidência
Museu da InconfidênciaFrom the House of Tomás Antônio Gonzaga it is only a few yards to Praça Tiradentes, the town's central square, in which the severed head of Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (known as Tiradentes, the "Tooth-Puller"), leader of the movement for Brazilian independence, the Inconfidência Mineira, was publicly displayed. In the square is the classical-style Casa de Câmara e Caseia (Town Hall and Gaol; 1784-1846), which now houses the Museu da Inconfidência. The exhibits include church treasures, sculpture by Aleijadinho (including a figure of St George which in the 18th century was carried through the town on horseback in the Corpus Christi procession), pictures by Ataíde and documents relating to the Inconfidência.
Nossa Senhora do Carmo
N.S. do CarmoThe church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, a short distance west of the Inconfidência Museum, dates from 1766-76. It was the second building erected by Manuel Francisco Lisboa. In 1770 Aleijadinho considerably altered his father's plans and was probably also responsible for the carving of the coat of arms on the doorway and the lavabo in the sacristy. The side altars (1807) with figures of St John and the Virgin of Compassion were among Aleijadinho's last works. The tabernacle in the sacristy has paintings by Manuel da Costa Ataíde (1812).
Nossa Senhora do Pilar
Rua do Carmo runs west into Praça Monsenhor Castilho, with the church of Nossa Senhora do Pilar (1711-33). The plain taipa walls conceal a sumptuous interior, in the decoration of which some 800kg/1760lb of gold and silver were used. In 1736 Francisco Antônio Pombal, Aleijadinho's uncle, changed the ground-plan into an irregular decagon better adapted to the architectural forms of Baroque. The woodcarving in the beautiful choir chapel was the work of Francisco Xavier de Brito (1747 onwards). The church also contains three paintings by Ataíde depicting the Road to Golgotha.
Museum of Mineralogy
Museum of MineralogyThe Museum of Mineralogy, also in Praça Tiradentes, is an annexe to the School of Mining, which is housed in the former Governor's Palace. It was designed in 1741 by the military architect José Fernandes Pinto de Alpoim, who had previously worked on the monastery of São Bento in Rio de Janeiro. Manuel Francisco Lisboa, Aleijadinho's father, was also involved in the construction of the building.
Nossa Senhora da Conceição
On Praça Antônio Dias, between Largo de Santa Efigênia and the town center, is the church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (1727-60). The square and the district in which it lies are named after the bandeirante from São Paulo who discovered the first grains of gold on the banks of the Rio Tripuí in 1698. In the church are the tombs of Aleijadinho and Maria Dorotéia Joaquina de Seixas, the celebrated Marília de Dirceu, muse of the poet and Inconfidente Tomás Antônio Gonzaga (1744-1810).
House of Tomás Antônio Gonzaga
House of TomásIn Rua Cláudio Manuel (formerly Rua do Ouvidor), to the north of Largo de Coimbra, are the house of the poet Tomás Antônio Gonzaga and the Chafariz dos Passos, a fountain of 1752.
Nossa Senhora das Mercês e Perdões
N.S. das Mercàs e PerdõesIn Rua das Mercàs, to the south of Largo de Coimbra and the church of São Francisco, is the church of Nossa Senhora das Mercàs e Perdões (1740-73), which contains two paintings by Antônio Martins da Silveira (1760/61).
Nossa Senhora das Mercês e Misericórdia
N.S. das Mercàs e MisericórdiaTo the north of Praça Tiradentes, in Rua Padre Rolim, is the church of Nossa Senhora das Mercàs e Misericórdia (1773).
Senhor do Bonfim
Close by Nossa Senhora do Pilar, in Rua da Glória, is the chapel of the Senhor do Bonfim (1776).
São Francisco de Paul
São Francisco de PaulaIn Rua Padre Rolim is the Largo da Rodoviária, with the Estação Rodoviária (bus station); to the south of this is the church of São Francisco de Paula, built between 1804 and 1904.
Map of Ouro Preto Attractions