Founded at the end of the 17th century, Ouro Preto (meaning Black Gold,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouro_Preto) was the focal point of the gold rush and Brazil's golden age in the 18th century under Portuguese rule.
The city contains well preserved Portuguese colonial architecture, with few signs of modern urban life. Modern construction must adhere to historical standards maintained by the city. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century churches decorated with gold and the sculptured works of Aleijadinho make Ouro Preto a prime tourist destination.
The tremendous wealth from gold mining in the 1700s created a city which attracted the intelligentia of Europe. Philosophy and art flourished, and evidence of a baroque revival called the Barroco Mineiro is illustrated in architecture as well as by sculptors such as Aleijadinho, painters such as Mestre Athayde, composers such as Lobo de Mesquita, and poets such as Thomas Gonzaga.
In 1789, Ouro Preto became the birthplace of the Inconfidencia Mineira, a failed attempt to gain independence from Portugal. The leading figure, Tiradentes, was hanged as a threat to any future revolutionaries.
In 1876, the Escola de Minas (Minas School) was created. This school established the technological foundation for several of the mineral discoveries in Brazil.
Ouro Preto was capital of Minas Gerais from 1822 until 1897, when the needs of government outgrew this town in the valley. The state government was moved to the new, planned city of Belo Horizonte.
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... as long as there's an advanced Maths course in a (not necessarily) nearby country. He's known for pushing friends into the most expensive photographic equipment... several family inheritances have been wasted, but they often acknowledge his smart advices. Owner of a clinical eye, he can spot perfection amidst chaos as easily as a small imperfection on a perfect photo. He's also an occasional stork stalker and, above all, a caring father of two beautiful children. Gastão's current location: Covilhã, Portugal.
... give us a hand. He's our Computer Science genius and is currently addicted to photographing cats. He's a natural born optimist who makes a joke out of anything... don't mess with his Toyota though. Eventually, his stocks will rise from death and he'll invest in livestock and vineyards. He's got highly trained fingers either playing the piano or shortcutting photoshop. We hope he'll stick around after marrying his college sweetheart. In the mean time, he'll dissect every submitted photograph into binary code. Pedro's current location: Covilhã, Portugal.
... would only be true if reading travel, geographic and surfing books/magazines accounted some mileage. He checks his e-mail every 2 minutes and he's often seen going cold-turkey when offline. Still divided between several walks of life, he strongly believes in Murphy's law "If anything can go wrong, it will". Photography plays a huge role in his life, at least judging by his conversation topics. Gray hair will eventually take the better of him. Pedro's current location: Covilhã, Portugal. Pedro's blog, personal/work homepage and facebook.