This is the fourth largest Brazilian state, its topography is quite rugged, and some of the country’s highest peaks are in its territory. The state is also home to the source of several major rivers in Brazil, which places it in a strategic position with regard to national water resources, which favors the existence of a rich fauna and flora distributed in biomes that cover the state, especially the savannah and the threatened Atlantic Forest.
The begging of the metal extraction, around the year of 1700, has brought wealth and development for the province, providing its economic and cultural development, however, gold soon became scarce, causing another emigration of population, until a new cycle (of coffee) brought again the Minas national projection.
Minas Gerais currently has the third largest gross domestic product of Brazil, much of the total produced in the state still is due to mining activities. This development also comes from its outstanding infrastructure, such as the large amount of hydroelectric power plants and the largest road network in the country.
Because of its natural beauty and its historical heritage, Minas Gerais is an important Brazilian tourist destination, its unique culture, marked by traditional religious manifestations and typical interior cuisine, as well as national importance in contemporary artistic production and in the sports scene.
Much of the artisanal production of Minas Gerais is connected to the cultural traditions of the state, as the representation of images of saints and historical figures, especially the work of Antonio Francisco Lisboa, better known as Aleijadinho, with style related to the Baroque and Rococo, is the greatest exponent of colonial art in Brazil. The artisanship is present in several regions of Minas Gerais, with production based on soapstone, ceramic, wood, vegetable fibers, clay, silver and tin. Throughout the state are found embroidery, bamboo, crochet and knits.
In the kitchen of Minas Gerais pork is very present, being the famous tutu with pork loin and pururuca pig considered traditional dishes. Once there, don’t forget to taste the cheese bread, Minas cheese (in its artisanal preparation), cachaça (sugarcane liquor, a typical Brazilian alcoholic drink), sweet milk, guava paste, peanut candy and its special coffe.
One of the most important Minas Gerais tourist circuit is the Royal Road, which passes through the old paths used to transport gold from the mines, which connects the central region of the state to the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Paraty. The different routes of this circuit has many historic, cultural and natural attractions.
The Architectural Pampulha complex became a World Heritage Site on 2016, by decision of UNESCO. Also in Minas Gerais, the historical centers of Ouro Preto and Diamantina, besides the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matozinhos, in Congonhas, already have this title.