Located in a valley and framed by majestic mountains, Congonhas do Campo, 70 kilometers from Belo Horizonte, bewitches its visitors with the beauty of its rich Baroque heritage.
The earliest records of human occupation dating back to the late 17th century, when the entire region was in a fever of adventurers in search of gold. A large part of the flag of Bartolomeu Bueno populated Vila Real de Queluz (Conselheiro Lafaiete) in 1700, but other members of the expedition followed the trip further and founded other villages such as the Arraial de Congonhas on the banks of the Congonhas River.
The name of the village comes from the plant "congõi" that cover the region's fields and in tupi means "what supports, what feeds". It is said that there was much gold in Congonhas that the rocks were the size of potatoes.
So much wealth attracted to the city the great Antonio Francisco Lisboa, Aleijadinho, one of the main artists of Brasil. The passing of Aleijadinho through Congonhas gave Minas Gerais and Brasil one of the most spectacular Baroque treasures: the Basílica Santuário do Bom Jesus de Matosinhos.
The architectural and artistic set of the Basilica is simply breathtaking. This masterpiece of Aleijadinho stands out by its rich carvings and indoor decoration, of 12 large soap stone statues of the Prophets and the six Capelas dos Passos distributed on a hill outside of the temple.
In the chapels, that recreate in a theatrical and educational way the passion of Christ, there are 66 realistic statues carved in cedar and colored masterfully by Mestre Ataíde, a great Brazilian painter and decorator of sacred art.
The sanctuary was declared a world heritage site by Unesco in 1985 and made Congonhas known today as "City of Prophets".
The nearest airport to Congonhas is the Belo Horizonte International Airport, located 70 km and receiving regular flights from Miami, Lisbon, Panama and Orlando.
At the bus station of Belo Horizonte, 70 km, you can catch a bus to Congonhas.
Personal or rental vehicles
You can rent a car to get to Congonhas. See the directions from Belo Horizonte to Congonhas.
The city of Congonhas is small and the best way to travel is on foot.