Founded in 1897, Belo Horizonte was the first city in Brazil to be built upon an urban plan. With 2,5 million inhabitants, the city is nowadays Brazil`s second industrial center, producing steel, cement, automobiles and exporting iron ore, manganese, nickel, uranium and precious stones. Belo Horizonte is also the point of departuring to Minas Gerais` beautiful historic towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes, with their baroque churches full of golden parts and artistic sculptures. The city offers a lively cultural calendar, especially at the “Palácio das Artes” (Palace of Arts, a multi-performing arts center).
This city`s main tourist attraction is Pampulha, a planned neighborhood surrounding a man-made lake and graced by an architectural complex designed by the world famous Oscar Niemeyer. It is one of the main success stories of contemporary Brazilian architecture. The complex is basically composed of the Saint Francis of Assis Church, the Casa do Baile (an elegant ballroom), the Yacht Club and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The city enjoys a lively cultural calendar, especially at the Palácio das Artes (a multi performing arts center).
This tour has a highlight: baroque tour-de-force, the sculptures of Aleijadinho (which decorate the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matozinhos) express the passion and piety of this great artist at the peak of his humanism and creativity.
Sabará is particularly rich in architectural and ornamental forms (which trace the evolution of religious art in Minas). The churches of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and Nossa Senhora do Ó are spectacular examples of the baroque influence in the colonial period.