Goiás StateSituation and CharacteristicsThe state of Goiás lies in the central highlands of Brazil. Its western boundary, separating it from the states of Pará and Mato Grosso, is formed by the Rio Araguaia, in which is the large island of Bananal; to the south, beyond the Rio Paranaíba, is the state of Minas Gerais; while in the north-east the Serra Geral de Goiás forms a natural boundary with Bahia. In 1988 the northern half of Goiás was hived off to form the state of Tocantins. European settlement of Goiás began in the late 17th century. In addition to arable farming and stock-rearing mining still makes a contribution to the state's economy.
Town, Goias, Brazil
Goiás (Town)Situation and CharacteristicsThe town of Goiás, or Goiás Velho, developed during the gold-digging period out of the Arraial de Santana, a settlement founded in 1727 by Bartolomeu Bueno, son of Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva, the bandeirante, known as Anhanguera, the "Old Devil", who had made his way from São Paulo into the wilderness of Goiás in 1682. In 1739 the settlement on the Rio Vermelho, where rich deposits of gold had been discovered, was renamed Vila Boa de Goiás, which until 1934 was capital of Goiás state. The town (now protected as a national monument) is linked with Goiânia, 144km/89mi south-east, by GO 070.
São Francisco de Paula
Among the oldest buildings in the town are the Igreja do Carmo (1756) and the churches of São Francisco de Paula (1761) and Santa Bárbara (1780), São Francisco de Paula has a bell-tower faced with wood. There are fine ceiling paintings in the choir chapel, which has a figure of the saint in Baroque style, the work of the Goiás sculptor Veiga Vale. The nave has ceiling paintings of 1869 showing the influence of 18th century models.
Nossa Senhora da Abadia
The church of Nossa Senhora da Abadia (1790) has ceiling paintings by an unknown artist. On the high altar is a figure of the Virgin by Veiga Vale.
Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte
The church of Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte, on Praça Castelo Branco, was built in 1779 on the site of an earlier chapel. It now houses the Museum of Sacred Art, which contains 36 of the 200 works of sculpture ascribed to Veiga Vale.
Museu das Bandeiras
Museu das BandeirasThe Museu das Bandeiras occupies the former Câmara e Cadeia Pública (Town Hall and Gaol) on Praça Brasil Caiado, built in 1755, in the reign of José I. The original walls, 1m/40in. thick, have been preserved. The exhibits in the Museum include instruments of torture dating from the period of slavery, church furnishings, pictures, silver and documents and artifacts of the Carajá Indians.
Chafariz da Calda
Chafariz da CaldaIn the square is the Chafariz da Calda, a soapstone fountain of 1778.
House of Cora Coralina
Baroque buildingsGoiás has preserved several other 18th century buildings, for example the Palácio do Conde dos Arcos (1756; period furniture), now a cultural center, and the Quartel do 20, an infantry barracks of 1747.
EventsThe traditional festival of the Folia do Zé Pereira, which has fallen into oblivion in some parts of Brazil, is still celebrated here in the month before Carnival.The pre-Easter ceremonies are introduced in Goiás Velho by the Procession of the Meeting of the Images of the Mater Dolorosa and Christ's Passion two weeks before Holy Week.The Procession of the Mater Dolorosa (Procissão de Nossa Senhora das Dores) is held a week before Holy Week, the Palm Sunday Procession (Procissão dos Ramos) on the preceding Sunday.One of the most important events in Holy Week, on the Wednesday evening, is the Procissão do Fogaréu. All the lights in the town are extinguished, and a procession of cowled figures with burning torches makes its way through the streets round the Igreja da Boa Morte (church of the Good Death). These farricocos represent the soldiers of the Praetorian Guard who arrested Christ.On the following days there are the Processions of the Deposition and the Entombment, and on Easter Saturday the Burning of Judas.The ceremonies are concluded by the Festival of the Holy Ghost, 40 days after Easter.
Caldas Novas, Brazil
Caldas NovasSituation and Characteristics167km/104mi south-east of Goiânia is the thermal resort of Caldas Novas, reached by way of BR 153 and the road to Morrinhos. The healing properties of its hot springs have been known since the late 17th century, when bandeirantes from São Paulo moved into the wilderness of Goiás. The settlement was established in 1749, when gold was discovered in the area.Bus stationRua Antìnio Coelho de Godoy
Balneário MunicipalIn the Parque Balneário, in the center of the town, is the Balneário Municipal (Municipal Spa), with hot springs at temperatures between 37°C/99°F and 42°C/109°F.
There are a couple of attractions worth visiting within a short distance of Caldas Novas.
Lagoa Quente de Pirapetinga
Lagoa Quentede Pirapetinga7km/4.5mi from Caldas Novas on the road to Pires do Rio is the Lagoa Quente (Hot Lagoon) de Pirapetinga, with the hottest water in the whole area. In the surroundings are forests, a river and a camping site.
Rio Quente28km/17mi west of Caldas Novas at the foot of the Serra de Caldas, near GO 507 (reached from the road to Morrinhos), is the thermal resort of Rio Quente (Pousada do Rio Quente), with mineral springs which are among the most abundantly flowing in the world, at temperatures ranging between 32°C/90°F and 38°C/100°F. The whole region has excellent facilities for visitors, with hotels, parks, lakes, chalets and camping sites.
Tocantins StateCapital (provisional): Miracema do TocantinsSituation and CharacteristicsTocantins is Brazil's youngest state, created only in 1988 out of the northern part of Goiás. It takes its name from the Rio Tocantins, which flows through the state from south to north. The population's main sources of revenue are arable farming and stock-rearing.