Top Ten Brazil Classic Adventures

Hike 18th Century Cities
By Shawn Blore

It's an outdoor walk through some of Brazil's most brilliant past: The inland state of Minas Gerais struck it rich on gold just about the time the Baroque was reaching its elaborate architectural heights. The newly wealthy citizens needed something to blow their money on, and having exhausted the joys of women and booze, they turned to architecture. The result is six small cities that rival St. Petersburg or Prague, boasting cobblestone streets, soaring palaces, and elaborate churches.

Largest of the six is the hilltop town of Ouro Preto; its cobblestone streets wander up and down hills crowned with more than a dozen ornately carved and elaborately decorated Baroque churches. Each corner turns on new surprises: mansions, fountains, ruins, beautiful terraced gardens, and towers glowing with colored tiles. Close by, the smaller cities of Mariana and Congonhas and Sabara offer similar delights though on a smaller scale, exquisite desserts to Ouro Preto's rich architectural feast. All four cities lie within a 12-mile radius, but it's still best to use transit to move between cities and save your shoe leather for in town.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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