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Ouro Prêto Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your Ouro Prêto vacation


jubond
History and art in Minas Gerais 4 stars
In Minas Gerais, in the Brazilian countryside, five towns are part of the famous historic cities route: Ouro Preto, Mariana, Tiradentes, Congonhas do Campo and Sao Joao del Rey. They had an important role in the history of the state and even of Brazil, around the 18th Century, when they were sought due to the large quantity of gold available in the region. Ouro Preto is the most impressive of them, with the major number of colonial houses. The steep streets and the churches astonish all visitants. The Nossa Senhora do Pilar church, is remarkable, once has almost half ton of foliaged gold in its altar and walls. Ouro Preto has great manifestation of baroque and rococo style and Sao Francisco church is considered the masterpiece, with a medallion in the façade sculpted by Alejadinho, a renowned artist of colonial Brazil. The market, in front of this church, offers amazing local artesian products. The city also has an interesting museum and huge option of restaurants and bars, where you can taste a great comida mineira (typical food of Minas Gerais).

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LucyHB
Buying arts and crafts 4 stars
Ouro Preto is a good place to visit if you want to pick up some arts and crafts - there are countless arts and crafts stores in the town, as well as a daily handicrafts fair near the Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis. There's a cluster of good and crafts stores near Praca Tiradentes (the hub of most 'activity' in Ouro Preto, all selliing paintings, handcrafted jewellery, wooden carvings, religious figurines - and plenty more besides. Given the abundance of churches in the town, it's hardly a surprise to find many religious artefacts on offer.

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LucyHB
Ouro Preto churches 5 stars
Ouro Preto has so many beautiful buildings that it's difficult to know where to start, but taking a tour of the churches offers a chance to see some of the town's best architecture. You can easily tour them all in a day, as long as you don't mind walking up some steep hills! The 1772 Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is a good place to start, at Praca Tiradentes. then go on to the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, , Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Pilar, the Igreja de Santa Efigenia - east of Praca Tiradentes - and the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos, at Largo do Rosario. All are beautiful, rich in history, and well worth taking the time to visit.

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LucyHB
Try to come when it´s not cloudy! 4 stars
Ouro Preto is a gorgeous, perfectly-preserved colonial town, no doubt about that. Unfortunately, I could see little of it when I visited in August 2006, as the whole town has surrounded in a cold grey mist.

What I did see was beautiful - with the hilly, cobbled streets, lovely churches and quaint town squares, the place had a very European feel. Apparently it gets very hot during the summer, and I can imagine it would be hard work up wandering up and down the hilly paths in the hot Brazilian sun. Not that I needed to worry about that...I was more concerned about trying to wrap up warm against the cold fog. I arrived at the bus station here very early after an night bus from Rio, and managed to put my backpack into a locker so I could find a warm drink and look for some accomodation. There´s a decent youth hostel about 15 minutes´ walk downhill from the bus station, but the idea of dragging my heavy backpack down (and back up) the steep hill was offputting - luckily I managed to find a room just opposite the bus station, with good breakfast included. Prices for rooms were noticeably more expensive here than in the towns in Rio state, such as Paraty, but not too extortionate if you look near the bus station - no doubt prices rise steeply in the old town. There are lots of places to eat too, at a reasonable price. Fed up of the cold I decided to leave the next day, but no sooner had I bought my bus ticket than the cloud began to lift, the sun came out, and I saw just how beautiful the historic town really was, and made me wish I was staying longer.


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