Ouro Prêto may already have a number of interesting places to keep tourists busy throughout their stay, but only when they’ve explored the areas beyond the city’s territories can they say that they’ve fully made the most of their visit in Ouro Prêto.
The neighboring cities of Mariana, Congonhas, and Ouro Banco will provide tourists with additional attractions to enjoy and experience.
Originally referred to as Nossa Senhora do Carmo, the city of Mariana came into existence when gold was discovered in the river of Ribeirão Nossa Senhora do Carmo in 1969. Nicknamed, Primeira Cidade or the First City, it was Minas Gerais’ first established villa and became the state’s first capital.
One of the places of interest to see in the city is the Casa da Câmara e Cadeia which, during the colonial times housed the public officials’ offices. This is also where the city jail and city council was headquartered at that time.
The Rua Direita, on the other hand, is second to the city’s oldest street. It features the town’s best-preserved houses dating back hundreds of years. It is also here where Casa does Barão de Pontal – the house of the former state governor – is situated.
For those fascinated in history, Mariana, just like Ouro Prêto, has several museums as well. These include the Museu Arquidiocesano de Arte Sacra or the Museum of Sacred Art of the Archdiocese, the Museu da Música de Mariana or the Mariana Music Museum, and the Museu do Livro or the Book Museum which will captivate book lovers with their rare collection of books from the 18th Century.
The city’s churches, such as the Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, Igreja da Arquiconfraria, and the Igreja de Santo Antônio which is the city’s oldest church are worth the visit as well.
Like Ouro Prêto, Congonhas is a historical city too. It is famous for its basilica, Santuário does Bom Jesus do Matosinhos, which was granted by UNESCO the World Heritage Site title in 1985. Created by Aleijandinho, one of the world’s best baroque style artists, the church also showcase sculptures done by Feliciano Mendes, an adventurer during the 18th Century.
Translated in English as “White Gold”, Ouro Banco’s name means the opposite of Ouro Prêto which is “Black Gold”. When in the city, make sure to include in your itineraries the church of Santo Antìnio. Built in 1717, the structure presents ceiling paintings done by Ataíde.
Because the city of Ouro Prêto is small enough to explore easily, visiting these neighboring cities is not a bad idea at all.