Minas Gerais Attractions
Situation and CharacteristicsThe state of Minas Gerais in the Brazilian Highlands owes its name ("General Mines") to its enormous wealth of minerals. In addition to precious metals and precious and semi-precious stones its mines yield iron, nickel and manganese ores, bauxite and uranium.Minas BaroqueThe almost incalculable wealth produced by the mines of Minas Gerais led in the 18th century to vigorous building activity, reaching its peak in the style known as Minas Baroque. The leading exponent of the style was the architect and sculptor Antìnio Francisco Lisboa, known as Aleijadinho.
Established in 1972, the Serra da Canastra National is the ideal tourist attraction for animal lovers. A wide variety of animals including deer, anteaters, wolves, ocelots, monkeys and jaguars can be seen at the Park.
Monte SiãoNorth-west of Camanducaia, near the border of São Paulo state, is the thermal resort of Monte Sião (pop. 15,000), just under
10km/6mi from Aguas de Lindóia, 170km/106mi from São Paulo and 500km/310mi from Belo Horizonte. To reach it from São Paulo, take the Bandeirantes (SP 348) or the Anhanguera motorway (SP 330) to Jundiaí, then SP 360 to Aguas de Lindóia. From Camanducaia the best plan is to take BR 381 to Bragança Paulista, then the road which runs north to Socorro and finally the Socorro-Aguas de Lindóia-Monte Sião road.Although Monte Sião is well known for its mineral springs, its wider fame rests on its blue and white pottery and its textile industry, which has earned it the style of the "knitwear capital of Brazil". The manufacture of hosiery and knitwear provides employment for almost the whole population of the little town, which supplies a market embracing the whole of south-eastern Brazil, Argentina and a number of other countries.6km/4mi from the village on the road to Aguas Virtuosas is the Coqueiral waterfall.
Barra do GarçasSituation and CharacteristicsThe town of Barra do Garças, 500km/310mi east of Cuiabá and 400km/250mi west of Goiânia, lies at the junction of the Rio das Garças and the Rio Araguaia, which here forms the boundary between the states of Mato Grosso and Goiás. Both rivers are spanned by a steel bridge which leads into Goiás state.
AragarçasA short distance before Barra do Garças, on the far side of the Rio Arguaia, is the town of Aragarças (Goiás state). Between them the two towns have a very adequate tourist infrastructure.
In July, when the level of the Rio Araguaia falls, the Festival da Praia (Beach Festival), with fishing competitions and motorboat races, is held on Ferradura beach.
There are some towns and natural attractions within a short distance of Barra do Garças.
Parque Balneário das Aquas Quentes
Hot springs6km/4mi from Barra do Garças is the Parque Balneário das Aguas Quentes, with hot springs (42°C/108°F), a swimming pool, a sauna establishment and various sports facilities.
Morro do Cristo
Morro do Cristo10km/6mi from Barra do Garças, in the Serra do Roncador, is the Morro do Cristo, which is crowned by a replica of the famous statue of Christ at Rio de Janeiro.
Santa BárbaraSituation and CharacteristicsThe historic little town of Santa Bárbara lies some 80km/50mi east of Belo Horizonte and 60km/37mi north of Ouro Preto. Near the town is the former Lazarist college and seminary of Caraça.Bus stationRua Antônio Pereira Rocha
Santo AntônioThe town's principal church, Santo Antônio, has paintings by Manuel Rebelo e Sousa of about 1752. The choir chapel has an early 19th century painting of the Ascension by Manuel da Costa Ataíde, one of his most famous works.
Nossa Senhora do Rosário
N.S. do RosárioThe church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Our Lady of the Rosary) dates from 1804. Near the church is the 18th century Casa do Largo do Rosário, now the Casa da Cultura.
Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, Catas Altas
Catas AltasN.S. da ConceiçãoThe little town of Catas Altas, 17km/10.5mi south of Santa Bárbara, has several 18th century churches and chapels. Of particular interest are the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário (1715), the chapel of Santa Quitéria (1720) and above all the church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (1710-80), the first church built in Minas Gerais, with a high curving Baroque gable. The carved decoration of the interior, begun in 1738, is only partly gilded. The carving on the high altar (1755) is attributed to Francisco Xavier de Brito. The wall paintings and the gilding of the altars were done by Manuel de Rebelo e Sousa in the 1750s.
UberabaUberaba (pop. 300,000), situated 120km/75mi west of Araxá in the Triângulo Mineiro, owed its development to cattle-rearing. The Museu do Zebu documents, with much photographic material, the introduction of the zebu into the Triângulo Mineiro. The Exposição Nacional do Gado Zebu (National Zebu Show) is held here annually on May 1st.