Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brasil
Founded in the early eighteenth century, Ouro Preto is a masterpiece of colonial Brazilian architecture and art. In fact, UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. Here the intricate details of the buildings and art works clearly reflect the originality and autonomy of the craftsmen and artists who created this monument of Brazilian baroque style. The painting of Manuel da Costa Athaíde and the sculptures of Antônio Francisco Lisboa, Aleijadinho, are living examples of this period of enormous creative inspiration. A visit to Ouro Preto is a step back into history and past human accomplishments. The town has thirteen large churches and numerous public monuments and buildings. The most spectacular of the churches are Saint Francis, Our Lady of Carmo, Our Lady of the Rosary, Pilar and Antônio Dias. Most local restaurants serve excellent meals based on regional culinary traditions which reflect their Brazilian, European and African origins. Other historical cities: a visit to nearby Mariana, and Congonhas are recommended. Farther south toward Rio de Janeiro are São Jão del Rei and Tiradentes. Close to Belo Horizonte are Diamantina and Sabará.