Historic Center of the Town of Diamantina (Brazil)

Historic Center of the Town of Diamantina (Brazil)

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:59
Posted in:

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.

Diamantina, a colonial village set like a jewel in a necklace of inhospitable rocky mountains in the northeast of 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.

In the heart of arid and rocky mountains in northeast Minas Gerais, the Historic Center of Diamantina rises 150 m (500 ft) up the side of a steep valley, with winding and uneven streets following the natural topography. 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 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.