people outside Brazil have heard of Diamantina, which is a shame. This
gem of a town is situated about 280 Km north of Belo Horizonte, the
of the state of Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil. Of all the
Brazilian colonial towns, Diamantina
is my favorite.
a rocky, windswept area about 1,100 meters above sea level, Diamantina
is probably the least spoilt of any of Brazil's many 18th-century towns
-- a fact perhaps due to its remoteness and isolation. Diamantina is
the hometown of Juscelino Kubitschek (1902-1976), the Brazilian
responsible for building Brasilia, which became the new capital
the country in 1960, replacing Rio de Janeiro.
is how UNESCO refers to Diamantina upon declaring it a World
Site in 1999:
shows how explorers of the Brazilian territory, diamond prospectors,
representatives of the Crown were able to adapt European models to an
context in the 18th century, thus creating a culture that was faithful
to its roots yet completely original.
a population of about 40 thousand, Diamantina still depends on mining
a living, and diamonds and gold continue to be mined in the
The town, with its cobbled streets, has many beautiful examples of
architecture, as well as many two-story colonial mansions with
displaying exquisite ornamental ironwork.
urban and architectural group of Diamantina, perfectly integrated into
a wild landscape, is a fine example of an adventurous spirit combined
a quest for refinement so typical of human nature.
a colonial village inserted like a jewel in a necklace of inhospitable
rocky mountains, illustrates the adventure of diamond prospectors in
18th century and testifies to human cultural and artistic ascendancy
its living environment."
can be easily reached by bus from Belo Horizonte. This charming,
picturesque 18th-century town has several hotels, albeit not in the
category. It's a rather sleepy, peaceful small town, where one
relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of a bygone era, and soak up the
atmosphere as one walks up and down the cobbled streets. The people are
friendly. Spending a day or two in this colonial town is a most
experience -- not to mention that it's a photographer's paradise.
looking at my pictures of Diamantina!