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Sao Joao del Rei

One of the largest of the historic cities, Sao Joao Del Rei is a great place to tour if you want to see some impressive Baroque Churches. The town has 35 cathedrals as well as several colonial mansions and public buildings from the 18th and 19th century. The Art Deco from the 20's and 30's also reflects the continued prosperity of the town at the turn of the century. The town contains beautiful historic landmarks that are still preserved after two centuries, making it one of the most visited of the historic cities.

Sao Joao Del Rei is a great day trip, but if you can try and stay overnight and catch the Maria Fumaca that runs on the weekends. The 19th century steam engine takes you on a romantic and lovely journey to the nearby Tiradentes. Of the 35 churches one of the most visited is the Saint Francis of Assissi, which was completed in 1774. The ornately carved exterior faces the square and its massive structure is an impressive example of baroque architecture at its peak. The Museu de Arte is close by and has a small but excellently preserved collection of Brazilian sacred art masterworks.

The city was founded in 1703 after gold was discovered in the area and soon became an important commercial and mining center. Unlike neighboring historic towns Sao Joao still has a thriving marketplace and remains an important economic force.

Getting There
From Belo Horizonte it is a 3-hour bus ride to Sao Joao. Rio is a 4-hour mile drive and Sao Paulo is a 5-hour drive, both having buses with service to the historic cities of Minas Gerais. For maps and other information visit the link below.
Further Travel Information

The Garden Hill Small Resort offers deluxe lodging that is centrally located to the historic district. Also recommended is the Solara Hotel that is located next to the Maria Fumaca train. The stroll from the hotel to the historical center is also quite lovely.

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