Minas Gerais literally means general mines. This is among Brazil’s 26 states and it is the second most populated and the second wealthiest in all of the states. The city comprises a lot of mountains and valleys and also large fields. And like other Brazilian states, it is also home to rich architectures from the colonial past. The cities that are home to these great architectural designs are Diamantina, Ouro Preto, Serro and Tiradentes. The capital city of Minas Gerais is Belo Horizonte and it is the third largest metropolis of Brazil.
Minerals and Caves
As described in the state’s name, Minas Gerais is rich in mineral resources. This is what brought early colonizers to the area. Itacolumite rock was found in various parts of the region and this was where gold, gems and even diamonds came from. In the 1700, gold was discovered in Ouro Preto. Now the state is famous worldwide among mineral collectors. It is also known to produce semi-precious stones such as the topaz and tourmaline. Minas Gerias now comprises 80% of the country’s mineral production and for awhile Diamantia, one of the cities of Minas Gerias, was the leading producer of diamonds worldwide.
The state is also known for the various caves that are found everywhere in the area. There are currently more than 500 caves listed in the region. One of the caves even has what is considered as a superlative or the world’s tallest stalagmites. This is found in Gruta do Janelão and it reaches 28m high. Minas Gerais also has the deepest cave in Brazil. This is the Gruta do Centenário.
Ouro Preto, aside from being known as where gold was first discovered, is also known for its well preserved culture and rich architecture. It was known as one of the richest cities during the gold rush. Ouro Preto was the capital of Minas Gerais until the 18th century. Old structures such as the city’s old jail and the Governor’s house are among the edifices that are can still be seen in the city. These have now been transformed into museums for local and tourists to visit. It is also in Ouro Preto where Municipal Theater and Opera House, the oldest operating theatre in Brazil, is located.
Tiradentes, the city, is named after the greatest hero of Brazil that was born here. Tiradentes is also considered as the Martyr of Independence. Aside from this historical fact, the city is also known for having various well-preserved colonial houses.