We went by bus to the beautiful colonial town of Ouro Preto, once the Portuguese capital of Brazil. It was here that gold was discovered in the 1600s and people flocked to the region. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, much of the baroque architecture has been preserved and restored, and there are virtually no modern buildings to diminish the historical feeling of the town.
Much of the city, and all of the mining industry that was spawned, was built on the backs of African slaves. That sad legacy is very apparent here.
On the two-hour drive here we saw a lot of mining activity still underway. Brazil is rich in iron ore and other minerals, and in the area of Ouro Preto, there is still mining for precious and semi precious stones, which vendors offer in the open air markets and finer shops.
We returned to our hotel happy that we made this side trip to Ouro Preto, which is truly a beautiful spot.