Minas Gerais and the ‘Circuit Of Gold’

The state of Minas Gerais was at the heart of Brazil’s 17th Century gold and diamond rush that saw a number of pretty little colonial towns spring up across this region of rugged river valleys, mountains and plateaus.

Why visit Minas Gerais and the ‘Circuit Of Gold’ ?

  • Negotiate the narrow, cobbled streets of Ouro Preto, a colonial gem
  • Take a step back in time to the days of the gold and diamond rush
  • Enjoy Aleijadinho’s sculptural masterpiece of ‘The 12 Prophets’
  • Treat yourself to a precious stone which are still mined locally
  • Enjoy the lavish Baroque work of the many sumptuous churches

As the prospectors rapidly built their fortunes, so they lavished huge sums on sumptuous mansions and beautiful Baroque churches and there are few finer examples of Baroque art and colonial architecture left in the Americas today than the delightful towns of Ouro Preto, Sao Joao del Rei, Tiradentes and Diamantina that make up the so-called ‘Circuit of Gold’.

Founded in the early 18th Century, Ouro Preto (‘Black Gold’, named because the gold found was covered in a thin black layer of iron oxide) is a masterpiece of colonial Brazilian architecture. It is the best preserved and most picturesque of all the colonial towns and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1981. Clinging to the hillside, the town’s steep cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, sculpted fountains, terraced gardens and beautiful churches are best explored on foot.

Beautifully located with the Sao Jose mountains as a backdrop, another of the old colonial gold rush towns that is steeped in history is Tiradentes, which is to the south of Ouro Preto and was founded in 1702. The town was originally called Hamlet on the Hilltop, but was changed to Tiradentes to honour the national hero who was martyred while participating in the Inconfidência Mineira (republican liberation movement) that was repressed by the Portuguese.




No Visa is required for UK passport holders.

Health Requirements

No mandatory vaccinations are required.

Time Difference

GMT - 3 Hours (Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro) Other parts of the country do vary.

Flight Time

11.5 hours Direct


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