Around five hundred kilometres north of Rio De Janeiro, deep within the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is a most remarkable place. Ouro Preto was discovered at the end of the seventeenth century by Portuguese gold prospectors. They found black gold which changed colour due to its iron content. Thus a prosperous gold town was born with fascinating Baroque and rococo architecture that has survived right up to the present day.
The region’s substantial mineral resources helped to create numerous magnificent buildings such as the Igreja De São Francisco De Assis that was completed by the Franciscan Order in 1820. It is one of the most impressive Baroque churches in Latin America.
Cleverly, and rather than pay excessive taxes to the Portuguese crown, the town’s colonials successfully hid much of their gold in the artwork of Ouro Preto’s sacred buildings. Thus the treasures created by human hand live on and are now the fabulous legacy of a truly golden past!
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.