The region around Belo was rich in tradition and lots of things to see.
We’ve mentioned the Estrada Real before, the “royal street” of the gold back to the shore and off to Portugal. In this gold rush era, Ouro Preto was the focal point. One amazing fact from our guide book: as Ouro Preto’s population reached 100,000 in the 18th century, New York City had 50,000 residents while Rio de Janeiro had only 20,000.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ouro Preto hosts marvelous baroque architecture from a period of Brazil under Portuguese rule. Set into the green rolling Minas hills, it’s perfectly well-preserved.