When Brazil was still a colony of the Portuguese crown, Ouro Preto was one of the country’s richest towns. As its name – black gold, in English – suggests, much gold and gems were found here back in the 18th century. The town’s fascinating history is on view at the newly-renovated Museu da Inconfidência, founded in 1944. The city, which once upon a time was the state capital, has been granted the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO.
Ouro Preto also staged one of the most important episodes in the history of Brazil: the Minas Gerais Conspiracy, which took place in 1789. Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (a.k.a. Tiradentes) led a group of revolutionaries in a fight for the independence from Portugal.
The grand old mansions of Ouro Preto, mostly built during colonial times, have been converted into museums, pousadas (inns) and restaurants.
Here are Ouro Preto’s best restaurants:
Rua São José, 56
Tel. (55-31) 3552-5089
One of the newest eateries in town, this pizzeria is often filled to capacity.
Piacere (pictured right)
Rua Getúlio Vargas, 241 (in the basement)
Casa dos Contos
Rua Camilo de Brito, 21
Rua São José, 167
Bené da Flauta (pictured left)
Rua São Francisco, 32
Opened in 2007 and named after a local sculptor, this three-story restaurant serves contemporary food and is one of very few not specializing in Minas cuisine. The wine list is Chile-centric.
Casa do Ouvidor
Rua Conde de Bobadela, 42
Click here for a complete listing of Ouro Preto's pousadas (inns) and hotels