• Registration Year


  • Registered Sector

    Historic Town of Ouro Preto

  • Historical Function

    Mining and culture.

Location and site

In the proximity of the Itacolomi Mountains, the City of Ouro Preto is situated on the flank of the mountains of the same name, along the Rio do Funil valley. It is at the heart of the rich mining area of Minas Gerais.

Urban Morphology

The spontaneous urban layout of Ouro Preto, with its irregular shape, is the result of the city's hilly topography. Its elongated form is made up of sinuous streets which become denser around the central square, where the main artery is crossed by a secondary street.

The homogeneous architectural ensemble is composed of one- and two-storey dwellings with reddish tile roofs and whitewashed walls; their wooden structural elements and ornaments are painted bright colours. The more monumental architecture includes dressed stone churches inspired by the late Baroque (second half of the 18th century) and a number of civic buildings constructed of pis‚ and mud brick. Chapels and Ways of the Cross, bridges and gardens complete the ensemble.

Registration Criteria

Criteria I and III are cited without details.

Historical Reference

  • After the first false hopes of a gold rush at the end of the 17th century, the region of Ouro Preto (Black Gold) was the site of a mining exploration movement in 1698.
  • In 1712, the dispersed encampments joined to form Vila Rica (now known as Ouro Preto). After having been part of the regional government of S o Paulo and Minais Gerais, the State of Minas Gerais broke away in 1720. Vila Rica became its capital, and retained this status until 1897.
  • Although the great period of gold exploitation was around 1730, it wasn't until 1740 that Vila Rica began to look like a real city.
  • During the second half of the 18th century, the city enjoyed a heyday and was the site of a great deal of architectural activity. The S o Francisco de Assis Church, the work of the well-known Brazilian artist Aleijadihno, was erected. At that time, Ouro Preto rapidly became a centre for intellectual and artistic activity; by the end of the century, it was the breeding ground of the "Inconfidencia" revolt movement, which eventually led to the independence of Brazil.
Mr. Julio Ernesto de Grammont Machado de Araújo
Prefeitura Municipal de Ouro Preto
Praça Barão do Rio Branco, 12 - Pilar
Ouro Preto, M.G., Brazil
CEP 35400-000
31 3559-3200

Mr. Rodrigo Mencioni
Instituto do Patrimonio Historico e Artistico Nacional (IPHAN)
Praça Tiradentes
Ouro Preto, Mina Gerais, Brazil


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