Goiás testifies to the occupation and colonization of the lands of central Brazil in the 18th and 19th centuries. The urban layout is an example of a typical mining town, adapted to the conditions of the area. Although modest, both public and private architecture form a harmonious whole.
Historic Center of the Town of Goiás
Goiás, also known as Goiás Velho (Old Goiás), is a town in the state of Goiás, Brazil. It is the former capital of the state and preserves much of its colonial heritage.
Goiás Velho was founded in 1727, its name being a tribute to the Goyaz Indians, the inhabitants of the area before the arrival of the Europeans. Its houses, chapels and churches reflect the height of the gold rush era.
The Historic Center of the Town of Goiás, a World Heritage Site, is built between two series of hills along a small river, the Rio Vermelho in central Brazil. Goiás gives witness to the occupation and colonization of the lands of central Brazil in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The first European exploration of this interior part of Brazil was carried out by expeditions from São Paulo in the 17th century. Gold was discovered in the gravel of a tributary of the Araguaia River by the bandeirante Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva (the Anhanguera) in 1682. The settlement he founded there, called Santa Anna, became the colonial town of Goiás Velho, the former state capital.
The origins of the town of Goiás are closely related with the history of the more or less official expeditions (bandeiras), which left from São Paulo to explore the interior of the Brazilian territory. It was the first officially recognized urban core, the first borough to be planned west of the demarcation line of the Treaty of Tordesillas that defined the boundaries of the Portuguese possessions.
The areas on the right bank are tight up against the northwestern hills, and have a popular character, indicated by the church of Rosario, which was traditionally reserved for slaves.
The areas on the left bank, limited by the hills to the southeast, are reserved for the more representative groups of buildings, including the parish church (today the cathedral) of Santana, the Governor’s Palace, the barracks, the Casa de Fundição (foundry), extending to the Praça do Chafariz and climbing towards the hill of Chapeu do Padre. This is also where the historic residential quarter is found, along with a characteristic marketplace.
The urban layout is an example of the organic development of a mining town, adapted to the conditions of the site. Although modest, both public and private architecture form a harmonious whole, due to the coherent use of local materials and vernacular techniques.