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Belo Horizonte
Brazil > Belo Horizonte

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.

Attractions

SHOPPING Handcraft Sescs 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 asan 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 - thats 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. Franciss life, as well as the 14 wood distemper paintings surrounding the churchs nave depicting the Via Sacra and the scene of St. Francis undressing. Alfredo Ceschiatti signs the bronze bas- reliefs at the baptistery illustrating mankinds 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.

Niemeyer lines

The Pampulha lagoon is one of Belo Horizontes best known landmarks. Designed in the 194Os, 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 Portinaris 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. Thats why the best time to go is the weekends, when all good restaurants open for lunch.

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). Tel. 3277-8861.

Pampulha Art Museum Before gambling was banned this building harbored a casino. Toda 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 tos 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 parts.