There are several mines in the area the most known of which is Mina da Passagem.
It is on the way to Mariana so any bus going there can take you. You get into the mine by a trolley car and guided to the secrets of mining by a former miner. A small crystal lake is down there where you are free to swim. For more information go to my Mariana page: Mina da Passagem.
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Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosario - built by slaves in 1785, with a unique rounded shape - Largo do Rosário 31 3551-4736
Matriz Nossa Senhora do Pilar – the oldest in the city - Praça Monsenhor Castilho Barbosa - 31 3551-4735
Casa dos Contos – in colonial baroque style was the home of a tax collector which later was turned into prison.
Museo de Arte Sacra - Praça Monsenhor Castilho Barbosa in the basement of Nossa Senhora do Pilar - 31 3551-4736
Museo Alejadinho - Rua Brigadeiro Musqueira, on Praca Antonio Dias, in the sacristy of church Nossa Senhora de Conceição, with its 8 decorated altars! Both father and son are buried in this church.
Teatro Municipal - (Opera House). The oldest functioning theater in South America, built in 1770 - Rua Brigadeiro Musqueira
Museo do Oratório – Small or big oratories are shown, used for praying. Some excellently decorated, especially the chinese ones. Rua Brigadeiro Musqueira - 31 3551-5369
Museum of Mineralogy – with an extended collection of minerals and gems - on Praca Tiradentes, 20 - 31 3559-1597 / 3559-3119
There are more churches, bridges, fountains and beautiful houses.
There are nice hikes in the area and don't forget Mariana and Gongonhas!
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São Francisco de Paula is just a few meters from the bus station. It was built between 1804 and 1898!! Inside is the Aleijadinho's sculpture of the saint and a large sculpture of the Last Supper.
This rococo church is of great beauty. Its construction started in 1776. The two towers are taken a little back so that they do not attract more attention than the beautiful facade, sculptured by Aleijadinho on soapstone. There are other works of his inside carved in wood and soapstone. His sculpture is amazing. Only the baptismal font took him 3 years. The astonishing paintings on the ceiling were the work of Manuel de Costa Ataide. Both artists were considered the most important of the Brazilian colonial art.
The courtyard is ideal for resting as it offers great views of the surroundings.
It is next to the open market.
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Next to the church of São Francisco de Assis is the open local market. Craftsmen sell their souvenirs here, usually carved in soapstone or wood. Even if you don't buy anything it is worthy of a visit to watch craftsmen carving the stone with great skill!
Someone showed me how fast he could carve beautiful designs on the soapstone. At my amazement he explained he had been doing that since his early childhood!
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Igreja Nossa Senhora das Mercês e Misericordia is one of the several churches that have a dominating position in the city's landscape. Its construction started in 1733 to substitute the one that existed on the same spot. When it finished the facade was different in a way that it gave emphasis on the central tower. Manuel Francisco de Araújo was in charge of the construction. Visiting is free.
Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo is one of the most beautiful churches in Ouro Prêto. It was designed by Manuel Fransisco Lisboa who was the father of 'Alejadinho". It was built in baroque-rococo style between 1766 and 1772. Later his son, Aleijadinho, modified its architecture and sculptured its wonderful facade. It was attended by the local aristocracy of "Vila Rica" as Ouro Prêto was called then. It was damaged in a fire in 1999 but nowadays is protected as a National Historical Monument.
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The Museum of Inconfidência on Praça Tiradentes is the old town hall which was later turned into prison. Now it is a well organised museum telling the dramatic story of Gold and the revolution against the Portuguese. Important archives and documents, writing and mining tools and interactive screens help the visitors grasp the real history of the region. There is even a game concerning the story of Inconfidencia Mineira. The exploitation of the locals by the Portuguese is pointed out. The building itself is an excellent example of colonial baroque art.
Entrance is 8R$ (3.6$US)
Next only to the Igreja de São Francisco de Assis, this is the most lavishly decorated church in Ouro Prëto. It was designed by Aleijadinho's father in the 1760s and completed by the 'Little Cripple' himself. Admission is R$2.
Photography is not permitted inside: the altar and ceiling photos are taken from postcards purchased in the church for R$2 each.
The adjacent Oratory houses two floors of religious items from the colonial period — everything from crucifixes to portable altars to priestly garb. Many are quite beautiful. Admission: R$5.
Walking around in Ouro Prêto is not for the weak of limb. Much of any stroll will be up and down hills, frequently very steep hills.
Still, one of the pleasures of visiting this so well preserved 18th century town is ambling here and there, admiring the quaint colonial buildings.
Ouro Prêto is surely one of the most enchanting towns on earth.
Ouro Prêto's Teatro Muncipal was dedicated on 6 June 1770; it is the oldest continously operating theatre in the Western Hemisphere — as a plaque from the Guinness Book of World Records (mounted in the theatre's lobby) attests.
It's not nearly so grand as the 'rubber baron' theatres in Manaus and Belem — it's austere, in fact — but it was built over a century earlier than those gems. At the time Ouro (then known as Villa Rica, or Rich Town) was the capital of the Estado Minas Gerais and possibly the wealthiest town in the Portuguese Empire.
Ouro Preto, the largest and most homogeneous portuguese colonial style settlement in the world, perches on hilltops at an altitude of 1179 m. It was the first brazilian town to be declared a world's heritage by UNESCO and it is remarkably well preserved.
Praca Tiradentes, with roads leading off it to most of Ouro Preto's sights, is the best place to start a tour of the town. Ouro Preto has several museums as well as thirteen colonial igrejas (churches) that are highly representative of mineiro baroque (and even rococo) architecture. The Minas style is marked by elaborately carved doorways and curving lines. Most distinctive are the interiors; richly painted and decorated with cedarwood and soapstone sculptures, covered with gold. These masterpieces are done by the best artists of those days: a sculptor and architect Antonio Francisco Lisboa, best-known as Aleijadinho, and a painter Manuel de Ataide. Especially Igrejade de Sao Francisco de Assis, Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Pilar, Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo and Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos, built in the 18th century, show the artistry of that time.
The elegant colonial buildings are all over Ouro Preto. One of them is the oldest Teatro Municipal (the Municipal Theatre) in the country which was established in 1770 and it is still open today. To know the history of the town, it is good to visit museums housed in a building from the 18th century. One of them is Museu da Inconfidencia (the Museum of Betrayal) which used to be the old city hall and was later used as a prison.
Aleijadinho is an artist with the nickname 'THE LITTLE CRIPPLE'. He suffered from a disease that paralyzed his hands. He tied a hammer and a chisel to his wrists and carried on making sculptures and carvings and earned the reputation as one of the most talented Baroque artists here.
His masterpieces include the Our Lady of Mount Carmo Church and the Sao Francisco Chapel in Ouro Preto.
Declared a World Cultural Monument of the United Nations, this hilly town is charming, with red-tiled roofs everywhere, beautiful Baroque churches, twisting cobble-stoned streets and gorgeous views at each strategic point.
Cast your eyes in the distance for the weird peak of Itacolomy mountain.
A great place to wander and get lost among the twisting lanes and hilly streets.
There isn't a bad view in Ouro Preto, and the best way to see the small town and it's myriad of baroque churches and museums is a walking tour. Keep in mind that many of the streets are extremely steep and actually made up of steps. Also, try to time your visit for any day other than Monday, as most of the churches and museums are closed on Monday.