Belo Horizonte (a Portuguese name meaning beautiful horizon) is among the most important cities in Brazil, and one of its nine metropolises. It is the capital of Minas Gerais state, located in the southeast of the country. With a population of slightly more than 2 million, Belo Horizonte – or "BH" as it is more familiarly known – is a place of intense economical and cultural activity.

Belo Horizonte on a sunny Thursday

History of Belo Horizonte

The metropolis was once a small village, founded by a prospector from São Paulo, João Leite da Silva Ortiz, who found a location with agreeable weather, decided to stay, and built a farm called Curral del Rey. The farm's wealth and success encouraged more people into the region.

The village grew, and when Brazil became a republic in 1889, Curral Del Rey was chosen as the site for the new capital of Minas Gerais, replacing the previous state capital of Ouro Preto. The name Belo Horizonte and the status of capital were given to it in December 12, 1897, official date of BH's birth.

One interesting feature is that the main avenues and streets were planned by a town planner – Aarão Reis. However, the city's growth – which was especially intense in the last twenty years of the 20th century – far surpassed its planning, and the city now faces a number of infrastructure problems. About 20% of the population has no access to the sewerage network, and floods are a problem in the slums, destroying houses and killing people in the rainy season (November to March).

Places to Go

Located in the nearby suburb of Pampulha is a collection of important buildings, including the Capela de São Francisco de Assis (Igreja da Pampulha), designed by the famous Brazilian architect of the modern school, Oscar Niemeyer.

See also

Colégio Marista Dom Silvério
Marista Hall

More Information