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September 18, 2007

World Heritage Cities


World Heritage Cities

Architecture is one of the most lasting manifestations of a people’s history. Buildings reveal customs, trends and techniques of each time. With a large historical-cultural heritage, Brazil has attracted a great number of tourists interested in learning, through large museums or city streets, a little of the nation’s past.

Visit the architectural, historical and cultural treasures stored in the immensity of Brazil.

Flag of Brazil

Historical City of Ouro Preto
Declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1980, the former capital of the province of Minas Gerais holds on its stone roads, a small piece of Brazil’s independence history. Founded by the end of the 17th century, Ouro Preto was the main setoff point for the gold race in the 18th century. Many churches, bridges and fountains remain as proof of the materials of this past of prosperity, and of the exceptional talent of the baroque sculptor, Aleijadinho.

Historic City of Olinda
Founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Olinda suffered great foreign invasions during the colonial age of Brazil due to its importance during the economical sugar cane cycle. The harmonious balance between baroque churches, convents, small chapels, buildings, gardens and monuments, leave it with a distinct charm – and ensured it the title of Humanity’s Heritage in 1982.

Ruins of São Miguel das Missões
The ruins of São Miguel das Missões, located in the South, represent valuable traces of Jesuit Mission in the country. They were built in the indigenous lands of the Guaranis between the 17th and 18th centuries; and standout for their wealth in shapes, and exception state of conservation. This fact earned it the title of World Cultural Heritage in 1984.

Historical Center of Salvador, State of Bahia
First capital of the country – from 1549 to 1763 -, Salvador preserves, up until today, countless renaissance age buildings. A peculiarity of the old city is the wealth of colors of the reminiscent colonial mansion – comprising the complex history and culture of Pelourinho. The Historical Center was declared by Unesco as Humanity’s Heritage in 1985.

Bom Jesus Sanctuary, in Congonhas do Campo
Located in Congonhas do Campo, in the State of Minas Gerais, it was built in the second half of the 18th century. It consists of a church, filled with magnificent rococo style adornments, of Italian inspiration. The decoration of its street and stairway is in sculptures of prophets. There, one can also find seven chapels illustrating the passing of Christ through Calvary, plus admirable polychrome tombstones made by Aleijadinho – Brazilian Baroque style master. It was declared humanity’s heritage in 1985.

History Center of São Luis, State of Maranhão
By the end of the 17th century, the French founded São Luiz, which was later invaded and occupied by the Dutch. The Portuguese retook it eventualy, and preserved the complete original plan of the city. Due to the long period of economic stagnations in the 20th century, an exceptional number of historical buildings were kept, leaving the locations as an example of an Iberian colonial city. It was declared Humanity’s Heritage by Unesco in 1997.

History Center of Diamantina City
Founded during the diamond rush in the 18th century, the city of Diamantina, Minas Gerais, is a witness to human, cultural and artistic triumph over the adversities imposed by its location – its urban and architectural assembly of buildings is perfectly integrated into the wild scenario. It was declared humanity’s heritage by Unesco in 1999.

History Center of Goiás City
It perfectly represents the colonial occupation of the central region of Brazil in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its urban layout is an example of organic development adapted to regional conditions. Unesco declared it Humanity’s Heritage in 2001.


The federal capital was also declared humanity’s heritage in 1987 in order to preserve its architectural features. However, differently from other cities of Brazil’s heritage, it was given the title for being a unique example of innovation, conviction and modernity. Outcome of the design of Urbanist Lúcio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer, it is a mark in the history of planned cities. From the design of residential blocks and administrative buildings, to the symmetry of buildings, everything is in harmony with the city’s design as a whole. The official constructions, in special, are creative and highly artistic.

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