Ouro Preto In Brazil
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Tremendous history distinguishes Ouro Preto among other towns in Brazil. It is a fact of common knowledge that Brazil attracts tourists with miraculous rainforest’s landscapes, momentous football stadiums and, of course, carnivals. However, Ouro Preto is a nice example of historic sightseeing that might be compared to the most precious European monuments of the past.

In practice, Ouro Preto was a center of gold fever in Brazil; in the 17th century there were found some nuggets of gold on the banks of Tripuí River. They were coated with a layer of iron oxide resembling to black stones, which gave the city its name. To be more précised, Ouro Preto is translated as “black gold”. Thus, it was not original town on the site.

Discovery of gold encouraged an emergence of the settlement called Villa Rica (“rich village”). Later, in 1823, it was changed to Ouro Perto, which factually became the administrative center of Minas Gerais province. Current center of the province, Belo Horizonte, was built in 1897, specifically to take over functions of Ouro Preto and deprive the last of administrative obligations. Practically, Ouro Preto became the city museum, which could not but appreciated by UNESCO. It was added to a World Heritage List because of unique set of Baroque architecture.

The main square of Ouro Preto is named after the national hero of Brazil Tiradentes, who headed the civil revolution in 1789. In history it is known as Minas Gerais Conspiracy, which failed. In fact, the execution of its leader Tiradentes was followed by dissection of his body and putting its parts all over Minas Gerais roads. It is believed that his head was “exhibited” precisely on Ouro Preto square, where nowadays there is a monument to the hero. In front of it one can visit Museu da Inconfidência that tells the story of this civil revolution.

As it was mentioned, Ouro Preto is famous for its Baroque style, ideally invested in Brazilian architecture, which is mainly observed in local monasteries and churches. They resemble to Portuguese churches, true to the austere and rigorous manner, but the exterior facade of the church hides a wealth of interior decoration and design - the crown, rocaille, roses, sunflowers, cherubs in the clouds, wood carving, etc. The core church in Ouro Preto is St. Francis of Assisi Church, erected in the end of the 18th century. Its project is a collaborative effort of the two great masters of the Baroque – Ataíde and Aleijadinho. The first one created painted ceiling of the church and the images on the main altar, and the temple building was designed the second.


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