We headed to Belo Horizonte in the county of Minas Gerais which means “general mines” which is a poor county. There were mines once. Don’t remember much of this town except that we’ve slept two nights in the same hotel which had a night club just in front which had loud music playing all night. The region was first settled in the early 18th century, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais. The city features a mixture of contemporary and classical buildings, and is home to several modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. In planning the city, Aarão Reis and Francisco Bicalho sought inspiration in the urban planning of Washington, D.C.
The city is built on several hills and is completely surrounded by mountains. There are several large parks in the immediate surroundings of Belo Horizonte.
The metropolis was once a small village, founded by João Leite da Silva Ortiz, a bandeirante explorer from São Paulo. The explorer settled in the region in 1701, leaving a gold rush expedition. He then established a farm called “Curral d’el Rey”which means “King’s Corral”. The farm’s wealth and success encouraged people from surrounding places to move into the region, and Curral del Rey became a village surrounded by farms.
Another important factor contributing to the growth of the village was the migrants from the São Francisco River region, who had to pass through Curral d’el Rey to reach southern parts of Brazil. Travelers usually visited a small wooden chapel, where they prayed for a safe trip. Due to this fact, the chapel was named Capela da Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, which means “Chapel of Our Lady of the Good Journey.” After the construction of Belo Horizonte, the old baroque chapel was replaced by a neo-gothic church that became the city’s cathedral.
Then came the last part of our journey, we headed toward Rio but stopped in Petropolis.
Wow! this town was so different from all the others. It was a wealthy gorgeous town full of trees and plants. The town’s name (“city of Peter”) honors Pedro II, the last Emperor of Brazil, who is entombed there at the Cathedral of Saint Peter. It is also known as The Imperial City, located 68 kilometres (42 mi) northeast of Rio de Janeiro. The city was the summer residence of the Brazilian Emperors and aristocrats in the 19th century, and was the official capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro during the First Brazilian Republic, between 1894 and 1902.
Until the 18th century, the region was inhabited by the crowned indians, which earned it the Portuguese name of “Sertão dos Índios Coroados”. It was only with the discovery of gold in Minas Gerais and the consequent opening of the new way of the mines that passed through Petrópolis in that century that the region began to be occupied by non-indians.
Not far from there, there was another town called Teresopolis. This one was completely the opposite. This town was poor but surrounded by natural beauties. Before the arrival of the Portuguese to the area where Teresópolis lies today, in the 16th century, it was inhabited by Indians. In the following centuries, Portuguese started buying land there. The region was also occupied by a quilombo, formed by runaway slaves coming from sugar cane plantations near Rio de Janeiro.
In 1821, an English citizen George March (born and raised in Portugal) established a farm there, which later became the most important settlement along the way between the court, in Rio de Janeiro, and the territory of Minas Gerais, which led to the great improvement of agriculture and cattle raising.
The Brazilian imperial family was much impressed by the natural beauty and the climate of the region, which developed slowly so that in 1855 the settlement became a village that was named Freguesia de Santo Antonio de Paquequer.
The further development of the village was due to the traders that came from Minas Gerais in the way to Rio de Janeiro, and used the region as a resting stop. Finally, on July 6, 1891, the village became a municipality that was named Teresópolis (“city of Teresa”), after Empress Teresa Cristina, wife of Emperor Pedro II.
In this pic, we were running out of gas. Like fools we took our chance to get to the next town.