Historic Center of the Town of Diamantina, World Heritage Site (Brazil)

Historic Center of the Town of Diamantina, World Heritage Site (Brazil)

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 20:52
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Diamantina, a colonial village set like a jewel in a necklace of inhospitable rocky mountains in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, recalls the exploits of diamond prospectors in the 18th century and testifies to the triumph of human cultural and artistic endeavor over the environment.

The Historic Center of the Town of Diamantina rises 150 m (500 ft) up the side of a steep valley in the heart of the arid and rocky mountains of the Espinhaço Range in northeast Minas Gerais, Brazil. With winding and uneven streets that follow the natural topography, it is a well-preserved example of Brazilian Baroque architecture.

Arraial do Tijuco (as Diamantina was first called) was built during the colonial era in the early 18th century. As its name suggests, Diamantina was a center of diamond mining in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The colonial village is set like a jewel in a necklace of inhospitable rocky mountains in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The Historic Center recalls the exploits of diamond prospectors in the 18th century and testifies to the triumph of human cultural and artistic endeavor over the environment.

Diamantina is located 292 km (181 mi) almost directly north of the state capital, Belo Horizonte, in a mountainous area. The elevation of the city is 1,114 m (3,655 ft).

Arraial do Tijuco (as Diamantina was first called) was built during the colonial era in the early 18th century, and was a center of diamond mining in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Baroque architecture differs from that of other Brazilian towns in being of wood, and is distinguished by its geometry and details indicating transference on a modest scale of Portuguese architectural features.

Churches have similar colors and textures as civil buildings, and most have only one tower. The regularly aligned 18th and 19th century semi-detached houses with one or two floors are painted in bright colors on a white ground, and contrast with the grey flagstone paving of the streets.

The Historic Center of Diamantina testifies to the conquest of Brazil’s interior regions, illustrating how explorers, diamond prospectors, and representatives of the Portuguese Crown forged an original culture in the 18th century, adapting their origins to the realities of the Americas.