Brasil has just over 500 years of history, but still has much to tell. Some small towns speak for themselves: the story is printed on the walls, on the streets, on the facades of the houses, on churches – Yes, churches! As the brazilian colonization was also made by Jesuit priests, many cities were born around churches established across the country. Some of these cities preserve so well their historic structure that wandering by them means discovering a little more of the history of Brasil. Meet 4 of them.
1. Paraty – Rio de Janeiro
With streets made of “pé de moleque” stones, Paraty slows down passers. This is perhaps the wish to see the city in its smallest details. This pavement is part of the landscape of Paraty since the 18th century, designed so that mules laden with gold or coffee did not bog on rainy days and did not raise dust in sunny days.
The city is a National Heritage, a beautiful showcase of the Brazilian colonial period. Established around the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, its mansions and churches express the style of an old Brasil. Mysterious geometric marks on the facades of the houses reveal the strong presence of Freemasonry in bygone days.
In the historic center, cars are not allowed to pass and you can walk on foot, accessing shops, inns and restaurants, as well as get in touch with very intense artistic and cultural expressions.
2. Trancoso – Bahia
Trancoso may be famous for its beaches, but is in the historic center that the city comes to life with the coming and going of tourists, children pranks and bustling commerce.
Founded in 1586, the century of the discovery of Brasil, Trancoso was a Jesuit village. That’s the reason why its center is in St. John's Church Square, framed by colorful houses and almond trees, also referred to simply as "square". When you're in town, don't forget to enjoy the view of the observatory right behind the church. It’s gorgeous!
3. Ouro Preto - Minas Gerais
At the end of the 17th century, when echoed the news of deposits of gold in the mountain of Ouro Preto, a migratory current entered in the Brazilian countryside in search of prosperity. And there they founded a masterpiece of the brazilian colonial architecture. Ouro Preto is a typically brazilian baroque architecture, with Aleijadinho and Athayde among its main artists.
The prosperity of the time was printed in houses, in the grandeur of churches and museums, today visited by many tourists. Streets are also made of stones: stones, placed one by one, leading you down a path full of history and culture in the heart of Brasil.
4. Pirenópolis – Goiás
Leaving Minas Gerais, it’s possible to enter even more into the Country. In the State of Goiás, you’ll find a nice town stuck in the middle of an exuberant nature. But you’ll get wrong if you think Pirenópolis is quiet. The city is a hub of cultural events and receives thousands of tourists all year round in search of its balnearies, full of waterfalls.
The historical centre is filled with 18th-century churches, museums and colorful mansions that reveal in each door a gastronomic, artistic or cultural surprise. The Parish Church is the largest and oldest historical monument of Goiás - one of the points that assure beautiful photographs.
The pavement of Pirenópolis, just like the previous cities, is also made of stones, making women definitely give up their high heels while walking around the town. Another custom is very well preserved in the city: houses with big backyards, each one with its orchard. With luck, in mid-September, you will be able to prove jabuticaba, an absolutely delicious little fruit, appreciated by almost everyone who tries it.