Architectural, Cultural sights in Ouro Prêto
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Casa dos Contos is an 18th-century treasury building that doubled as a prison for members of the Inconfidência. The renovated mansion now houses displays on the history of gold – and money in general – in Brazil.
The Igreja de Santa Efigênia dos Pretos, built between 1742 and 1749 by and for the black slave community, sits atop a steep hill east of town. Santa Efigênia, patron saint of the church, was the queen of Nubia, and the featured saints – Santo Antônio do Nolo and São Benedito – are black. The slaves prayed to these images that they wouldn’t be crushed in the mines. Despite its relative lack of gold ornamentation, the church is very rich in artwork. The altar is by Aleijadinho’s master, Francisco Javier do Briton, and the exterior image of NS do Rosário is by Aleijadinho himself. The church was financed by gold extracted from Chico-Rei’s mine. Slaves contributed to the…