- Location: In Minas Gerais in southeast Brazil
- Attraction Type: Historic City
- Significance: A UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its baroque architectural buildings
- Best time to Visit: October to March
- How to reach: Along Road BR 356 from Belo Horizonte or by road from all major Brazilian cities
- Nearest International Airport: Belo Horizonte Tancredo Neves International Airport
Ouro Preto is among the best-preserved colonial towns of Brazil. The resplendent baroque architecture of many of the buildings gives the city a glorious and imperious look. With churches, museums, and mines Ouro Preto is an engrossing destination for architects, historians, and travelers alike. This UNESCO World Heritage City is set foot upon by thousands of visitors from all continents.
Ouro Petro is the Portuguese of ‘black gold’ which was discovered here in 1698. With the discovery of this scarce mineral migration in immense numbers took place and the population of Villa Rica does Ouro Preto increased to more than 110,000 by 1750. In the meantime, the capital was also shifted here from Maiana. The discovery of gold also .prompted the Brazilians led by Tiradentes to rise in revolt against Portuguese authorities. When this revolt failed, Tiradentes was tried, executed and his body dismembered. His head was placed in Praca Tiradentes in the city center and his body parts displayed all along the road from Ouro Preto to Rio de Janeiro.
After Brazil became independent in 1822, Ouro Preto was declared ‘Imperial City’ by Emperor Dom Pedro I. In 1839, not only Brazil’s but entire South America’s first pharmaceutical college was established in his city. Thereafter in 1876 ‘The School of Minas’ dedicated for studies in metallurgy and mining was set up by Emperor Dom Pedro II.
Attractions of Ouro Preto
The list of tourist attractions in Ouro Preto in Brazil is countless. It is quite likely that you might not be able to explore this illustrious World Heritage city in one visit. Praca Tiradentes is a distinctive square with the School of Mines and Museu da Inconfedencia adorning its northern and southern ends respectively. Teatro Municipal Opera House established in 1770 was this city’s earliest functioning theater. The Casa Bandeirista da Fazenda Sao Jose do Manso, an excellently preserved ranch house is the first state-building.
Among the museums, Museau do Cha or Tea Museum is notable. Museu da Inconfidencia dedicated to the unsuccessful revolt is an exceptional example of baroque architecture. This museum is enriched with the artworks of Manuel da Costa Ataide, and Aleijadinho both renowned artists. The Museum of Sacred Art and Museu Aleijadinho are two other remarkable museums.
The Churches of this heritage city are each a piece of art. Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Pilar is the oldest church completed in 1731. Inside there are intricate decorations using nearly 500 kg of gold and 450 kg of silver. The Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the rococo style contains Aleijadinho’s last works. Igreja Sao Francisco de Paula was completed in 1898 after 94 years of construction. Inside you would find a marvelous sculpture of the saint done by Aleijadinho.
Apart from the churches and museums, the Itacolomi State Park is an inspiring sight. A pair of rocks is the center of attraction of this magnificent park which also offers exciting trekking opportunities.
Accommodation in Ouro Preto
In Ouro Preto, you could check into the high end, mid-range, or budget hotels as per your preference. Among the high-end hotels, you might select among Grande Hotel de Ouro Preto, Luxor Ouro Preto Hotel, and Arcanjo Hotel Pousada. In case you prefer to put up in a mid-range hotel, opt among Hotel Casa Grande Pousada, Casa Dona Denis, Pousada Ouro Preto, and Pousada Nello Nuno. Among the budget hotels, you might choose between Brumas Hostel, and O Sorriso Do Lagarto Hostel & Posada.