Lavras Novas is a district of Ouro Preto located in the Serra do Thunder. Part of the tourist route known as the Estrada Real (Royal Road), the hamlet emerged with the expansion of Brazilian gold mines. According to reports from local residents, when gold mining in Brazil began to decline, hundreds of slaves were freed, as their masters were no longer able to keep them. Some of these freed slaves remained in Lavras Novas, forming families and building the small village. Today, Lavras Novas mirrors the beauty of the region, as well as its warm climate, sense of tranquillity and local hospitality.
Cachoeira do Campo
Cachoeira do Campo is the largest district in Ouro Preto, and is located 18 km from the centre of town. In the past, the district served as a stage for the Emboabas War, as the region's agricultural centre, and as the official residence of the governor throughout the 18th century. With the exploitation of gold in Brazil came a large migration of people to the region to work in the mines. But the state's agricultural production was not sufficient to support the sudden influx of workers. In 1700, there was a serious food shortage throughout region. The district of Cachoeira do Campo emerged during that time as the main agricultural centre of Minas Gerais. This led to the rise of the aristocracy and the development of Mariana.
The district also witnessed the decisive battle between regional conflicts of interest. The War of Emboabas involved pioneers from Sao Paulo who fought for gold exploration. Cachoeiro do Campo later served as the seat of the government of Minas Gerais, which sought to settle the riots and conflicts taking place in Ouro Preto.
Cachoeira do Campo has preserved monuments that narrate the history of Minas Gerais. The Church of Our Lady of Nazareth, one of the main churches of Ouro Preto, is considered one of the major artistic and architectural monuments of Brazil.
Located 25 km from the historic centre of Ouro Preto, Amarantina is one of the oldest Ouro Preto districts. It was one of the leading centres specializing in stone and leather crafts, supporting a large number of artisans. The district of Amarantina experienced a famine around 1700. As a result, agricultural production has intensified in the region and has been central to its growth. Other means, such as handicrafts, have also been expanding and bringing economic stability to the region.
Located 15 km from Ouro Preto, the district was named in honour of St. Bartholomew. Like most towns in this region of Brazil, the village served as a gateway to the pioneers and attracted many people due to the famine that ravaged during the 18th century. Visitors are invited to check out the architecture of Sao Bartolomeu - many buildings are still constructed using waddle and daub – and to immerse themselves in the local culture and religion. St. Bartholomew is also known for its guava, which has a distinct flavour.
The Glaura district, also known as the White House, is 22 km from the centre of Ouro Preto. The site emerged during the 18th century, at the height of Brazilian gold mining as a fundamental point of passage for the pioneers. White House attracts visitors fleeing the bustle of the big city and seeking rest and tranquillity. There are many attractive Brazil ecotourism accommodation options and farmstays across the charming landscape.
Santo Antonio do Salto
As the newest district of Ouro Preto, Santo Antonio do Salto is 35 km from the town. Like most villages in the region, the district developed alongside territorial expansion attached to gold mining. The village is difficult to access because of the mountains surrounding the region. Because of its isolation, the Santo Antonio do Salto has been characterized primarily by subsistence activities such as mining, farming and ranching. On the ride to Santo Antonio do Salto, visitors can enjoy the lush landscape of the surrounding area and learn more about the history and culture of Brazil.
Santo Antônio do Leite
Birthplace of Honorius Esteves, one of the biggest names in 19th-century mine painting, the district of Santo Antônio Leite is 25 km from the historic centre of Ouro Preto. The small village grew out of expeditions in search of gold, and served as a passageway between Cachoeira do Campo and White Gold. There are several versions of the origins of its name, which translates as ‘milk’; one is that, during the time of the Empire, military officers who were riding through the region found a large quantity of milk on the farm of Don Jose Vidal. The region came to be called leite. In addition to the tranquil and beautiful landscape, visitors can see the church of St. Anthony and the paintings of Honorius Esteves.
Located 18 km from Ouro Preto, the district of Rodrigo Silva is known as the capital of Imperial Topaz. Emerging as a small Brazil gold mining town, the district still retains traces of its 19th-century Brazilian colonial architecture. The city grew greatly during the 20th century with the construction of the railway station Rodrigo Silva.
Located 40 kilometers from Ouro Preto, the Miguel Burnier district served as an important railroad centre and was central in the pioneering of the Brazilian steel industry. Steel was a large component of the region's development. One of the most well-known churches in Ouro Preto, Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is located in Miguel Burnier, and attracts many visitors from the neighbouring districts and rural areas during the feast of Holy Week.
Located 30 km from Ouro Preto, Santa Rita was named in devotion to the saint whose prayers were believed to heal, cure and convert. Known as the capital of soapstone, Santa Rira provided essential materials for the construction of Baroque art in Brazil. Its economy has developed greatly during the 20th century, centered on the construction of the BR-116. Livestock and agriculture are the most important sources of income, as is the production of coffee.
The small town was incorporated as a district of Ouro Preto in the second half of the 19th century. Located 16 km from the town centre, the village is home to iron ore and imperial topaz mines. It was named by its founder, Captain Antônio Pereira Machado, around 1700. The settlement grew as a result of the migration of residents, driven by famine in the nearby mining town of Vila Rica, and was built around a chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Bonfim. Visitors should spend time in rural Antonio Pereira, one of the most beautiful landscapes of the region. The mountainous region includes the Waterfall of the Swallows, which is located east of Old River. You can also learn about the religious monuments that illustrate the history of Minas Gerais. Among them is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Lapa, set in a natural cave.
Located 30 km from Ouro Preto, the district Engenho Correia focuses its economic activities on agriculture. It too arose at the time of Brazil gold mining in the 18th century. Engenho Correia hosts many religious festivals and also has remains of the colonial period in Brazil.