Brazil > Belo Horizonte
BRASILIA 747, RIO DE JANEIRO 444, SAO PAULO 602 km. People from Minas (the
“mineiro”) master the art of finding a nicer way of doing things. The capital
city, Belo Horizonte, affectionately named “Beagd", is a faithful embodiment
of this part of Minas’ soul. Beagd preserves the rural flavor that comes from
the small neighboring villages and districts. In the city chosen by Oscar Niemeyer
for his debut as an architect, the Pampulha Lagoon continues to be a inspiring
landmark, and the mountains that lineup at the horizon are constant reminders
that the countryside is not so far away.
SHOPPING Handcraft Sesc’s Handcraft Center sells crystal
and tin pieces, clay sculptures, soap-stone and wooden items coming from Minas’
most important production areas: Historic towns, the Triangulo Mineiro (Minas
Triangle), the Jequitinhonha and Sao Francisco river valleys and so on. 956,
Tupinamba st. Tel. 3279-1476.
EVENT Comida di Buteco. Ball house (1943) Designed as a restaurant
and ball house, it is now a space for temporary exhibitions. One of Niemeyers’
personal trademarks the ceiling's curve lines go along the curves of the lagoon.
751, Otacilio Negrao de lima Av. Tel. 3277- 7443.
CHURCH of St. Francis of Assisi Seen as’an icon of Brazilian
modernist architecture and the major postcard of the city. From the works that
adorn the interior up to the winding exterior forms everything about it is daring
- that’s why it took 16 years for it to be embraced by the Catholic Church.
Candido Portinari authored the white and blue tile panels in the facade depicting
the most memorable episodes of St. Francis’s life, as well as the 14 wood distemper
paintings surrounding the church’s nave depicting the Via Sacra and the scene
of St. Francis’ undressing. Alfredo Ceschiatti signs the bronze bas- reliefs
at the baptistery illustrating mankind’s creation, the original sin and the
fall from Paradise. Burle Marx designed the gardens that frame the chapel. Attending
to mass (only on Sundays, at loh3O) here is worthwhile especially on a beautiful
day - the sunlight has an astonishing effect over the paintings. Otacilio Negrao
de Lima Av., Pampulha. Tel. 3427-1644.
MUSEUM Inhotim In Brumadinho, 60 km from Belo Horizonte, is
one of Brazil's most important collections of contemporary art. It is the exhibition
place for 90 of the 400 works of his private col-lection - many of them placed
outdoors, spread around dazzling gardens by Burle Marx, in addition to other
seven galleries. Among the Brazilian artists in exhibition the highlights are
Cildo Meirelles, Helio Oiticica, Tunga and Amilcar de Castro. In 2008,10 new
galleries were opened, one of them devoted to the contemporary artist from Rio
de Janeiro Adriana Varejao, as well as a square adorned with a piece by Helio
Oiticica. Among the foreigners, the German Franz Ackermann, Canadian Janet Cardiff
and photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark stand out. Access via km 490 of BR-381
direction S. Paulo (Inhotim) (city of Brumadinho), 60 km.
The Pampulha lagoon is one of Belo Horizonte’s best known landmarks. Designed
in the 194O’s, the buildings erected alongside its banks bear the incontrovertible
stamp of Brazil's greatest architect, Oscar Niemeyer - at the church of st.
Francis Assissi his genius keeps company with Candido Portinari’s paintings
of the Via Sa-cra. In less than a couple of hours visitors can pass in review
buildings like MineirSo (read on pg. XX), Ball House (pg. XX), Pampulha Art
Museum (pg. XX), and then enjoy the margins of the lagoon, which is experienced
by locals as a kind surrogate coastline. Jogging, running or just hanging around
are some of the most favored activities among those living in the area. That’s
why the best time to go is the weekends, when all good restaurants open for
Museum of Arts and Crafts Inside
The building of the old Central Station a permanent exhibition demonstrates
unites in a didactical and modern way the importance of several crafts and trades
that were somehow relevant in Brazilian history: coopers, peddlers, cattle drivers
ceramics, ambulant photographers and so on. Computers allow visitors to travel
virtually from Parati to Diamantina side- by-side with the tropeiros’ (cattle
drivers) groups; or get to know the work of such popular artists as the ceramist
and sculptor . Mestre Vitalino. And, since food also involves work, an annex
building to the museum explains the origin of such Brazilian traditional products
as the manioc and the Minas cheese. Rui Barbosa sq. I (fti da Estaqao).
Natural Sciences Its greatest strength is the fossil collection
discovered in the area of the Lagoa Santa, about 40 km away from Belo Horizonte
, by the Danish naturalist Peter W. Lund - the father of Brazilian paleontology
- over a 10 year period in Brazil. Lund explored 250 caves and discovered 150
mammal species, 26 of which have already disappeared.
Historical Abilio Barreto Old farm house from 1883 harboring
a tiny collection about the history of Curral del Rey, the villagathat preceded
the foundation of Belo Horizonte. 202, Prudente de Morais av. (Cid< le Jardim).
Pampulha Art Museum Before gambling was banned this building
harbored a casino. Todaó it is used as a space for temporary exhgibiions. Take
special notice of the beatiful sculptures by such artists as Alfredo Ceschiatti,
spread around the garden. 651, Otacilio Negrao de Lima av. (Pampulha 3277-7946).
Toy Museum In a small story heritage residence some 600 toós
gathered by the collector Luiza de Azevedo Meyer are in exhibition. There are
surprises like a Danish Lego from 1940 made of soft wood and with no fitting