Discovering Ouro Preto

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Brazil, this country evokes in our mind images of holidays, sun and sea in its wonderful beaches … but it is even more…

Today The Golden Scope leads the internal state of Minas Gerais, where the mountain range with the same name “accomodates” some charming small villages that, centuries later, still keep intact their Portuguese colonial architecture.

The town of Ouro Preto, founded in 1698, is located at the foot of the Minas Gerais mountain range; its paths, winding streets that climb hard on the slopes, come into an atmosphere of other times …

Ouro Preto means Black Gold, because this small town was born when in that area, gold nuggets were found and these attracted many miners of the precious metal.

A unique feature of this village is represented by its 13 churches that are complemented by simple white houses with colorful windows and doors. Everything is a rare example of Baroque architecture and for this reason, in 1980 UNESCO has included it in the World Heritage Sites List.

Another special aspect … these churches are decorated with gold, in particular  Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Pilar was adorned using 400 kgs of precious metal!

Unfortunately for work in the mines, many slaves deported from Africa were used. In this sad reality, the positive story of the slave Chico Rei, passed down to the present day, emerges.

Chico Rei was the head of his village in Africa when he and all his family were captured by slave traders. During the crossing to reach the Brazil, he lost his wife and children but, despite this tragedy, he did not cultivate hatred…

Over the years he was respected and appreciated by everyone, he married a white woman, and then he acquired the mine where he worked. The wonderful thing is that he used the gold mined to buy the freedom of a lot of slaves! Today who visit Ouro Preto go in its mine that has become a symbol of multi-ethnic culture of this little gem colonial Brazil.

 

(All the photos are taken from Google.com, and all belong to their original owners)