Ouro Preto Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Ouro Preto
Situation and CharacteristicsOuro Preto ("Black Gold"), designated by UNESCO as a world cultural monument, has the largest ensemble of Baroque architecture in the whole of Brazil. It was originally a small settlement of gold-diggers and treasure-seekers which in 1711 was granted the status of a vila under the name of Vila Rica de Albuquerque and from 1721 to 1897 was capital of Minas Gerais state. It was the home of a school of mulatto artists and a stronghold of the Inconfidentes who fought for the independence of Brazil. This treasure house of 18th century architecture, still largely intact, is built on the steep slopes of a hill in the middle south of Minas Gerais, 96km/60mi south-east of Belo Horizonte.Bus stationRua Padre Rolim
Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pardos
N.S. do Rosário dos PardosIn Rua Padre Faria, in the eastern district of Alto da Cruz, is one of the town's earliest buildings, the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pardos, also known as the Chapel of Padre Faria, which was built in 1701-04 and restored in 1740. It has a sumptuous interior, with gilded carving, pictures, fine ceiling paintings and a figure of Our Lady of the Rosary attributed to Francisco Xavier de Bruto, Aleijadinho's teacher.
Fountain of Padre Faria
On Rua Padre Faria street is the Fountain of Padre Faria (1761), Aleijadinho's earliest work in soapstone.
Santa Efigênia dos Pretos
Santa Efigênia dos PretosTo the west of the Chapel of Padre Faria is Largo Santa Efigênia, in which is the church of Santa Efigênia dos Pretos (1733-45). The woodcarving in this church is by Francisco Xavier de Brito and other exponents of Minas Baroque.
Casa dos Contos
Casa dos ContosTo the west of Praça Tiradentes, in Rua São José, is the Casa dos Contos (1782), the finest secular building in Ouro Preto. It was originally the residence of the Intendant João Rodrigues de Macedo, and it was also in this building that the gold won by the miners was weighed and smelted under his supervision. Later it was used for a time as a prison; among those confined here were Cláudio Manuel da Costa (who was found dead in his cell two days after his arrest) and others concerned in the Inconfidência. Visitors can see the smelting furnaces and rooms furnished in 18th century style. The Salão Nobre has 18th century ceiling paintings which were discovered in 1974 during restoration work. In an adjoining building is the Center for the Study of the Gold-Mining Period.
Nossa Senhora do Rasário dos Pretos
N.S. do Rosário dos PretosRua São José and Rua Getúlio Vargas lead to Largo do Rosário, with the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos (Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks; 1785). The ground-plan consists of two intersecting ellipses forming the nave and the choir.
Just beside the Nossa Senhora da Conceição church is the Aleijadinho Museum (furniture of the colonial period, sculpture, articles in precious metals, vestments, etc.).
Two fine 18th century monuments are the Marília Fountain and the Marília Bridge (1758) on Largo de Dirceu.
Museum of Sacred Art
The 18th century Casa do Noviciado, now occupied by the Museu de Arte Sacra, possesses a number of works of sculpture by Francisco Xavier de Brito.
Chico Rei's Mine
The entrance to Chico Rei's Mine (1702) is in the Palácio Velho, to the north of Praça Antônio Dias. Chico Rei is said to have been the king of an African tribe who was brought to Brazil as a slave and contrived to earn enough money to buy his own freedom and that of members of his tribe.
Chafariz dos Contos
Chafariz dos ContosNearby, in Praça Reinaldo Alves de Brito, is the Chafariz dos Contos, a fountain of 1760. In the colonial period very few houses had their own water supply, and the public fountains played an important part in everyday life, serving also as a meeting-place and communications center.
On Rua Brigadeiro Musqueira is the Municipal Theatre, formerly the Opera House.
Adjoining N.S. do Pilar is the Museu da Prata (Silver Museum), with objects of gold and silver and 18th century furniture.
Bom Jesus de Matosinhos (São Miguel e Almas)
From Largo da Matriz do Pilar Rua Benedito Valadares, Rua Cláudio de Lima and Rua Alvarenga lead north-west to the Cabeças district, in which is the church of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos (1785), also known as São Miguel e Almas. In a niche on the façade is a soapstone statue of St Michael by Aleijadinho (1778). The church also has paintings of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion by Ataíde. In the square in front of the church is the Chafariz do Alto das Cabeças (1763).
Stations of the Cross
In Praças Antônio Dias and Tiradentes and Ruas São José, Getúlio Vargas and Antônio de Albuquerque are fourteen Stations of the Cross. Also in Rua Antônio de Albuquerque is the Chafariz da Glória (1752).
Notable among the town's many 18th century buildings are the Casa da Baronesa (now occupied by SPHAN) and the Casa de D. Manuel de Portugal e Castro (privately owned) on Praça Tiradentes and the Casa dos Inconfidentes in Rua dos Inconfidentes.
Map of Ouro Preto Attractions