If you like 17th and 18th century churches, especially of the Baroque variety, Ouro Preto has quite a treat for you. The town is packed with churches. It seems like they are just around every corner. Each one of them charges a BRA$10 entrance fee to help with the maintenance and preservation of the church. I didn’t visit the interior of any of the churches.
Igreja São Francisco de Paula is the first church you will likely encounter, just a short walk from the bus station. It was built between 1804 and 1898. There’s a large cemetery outside of the church, and many locals believed if they were buried there, they would reach heaven faster.
Down the hill from it is another smaller church, Igreja São José, built between 1752 and 1811. It replaced a smaller chapel built in 1730.
Down another hill from there is Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Homens Pretos. It was constructed between 1762 and 1793 after being given a land grant by the city.
At the bottom of yet another hill sits the 1731 Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Pilar. It was built to show off the wealth of those who ordered it. The church was elevated to a basilica in 2012.
Up a very steep hill is Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo. It was built between 1767 and 1795.
The crown jewel of Ouro Preto’s churches is Igreja São Francisco de Assis, near Praça Tiradentes. It was built between 1766 and 1802. The ornate artwork in the church was created by two of Brazil’s finest architects and artists, Aleijadinho and Manoel da Costa Ataíde. Cemitério São Francisco de Assis is on the church grounds.
Finally, down the hill from São Francisco de Assis is another church in what seems to be a crumbling state. Igreja Matriza de Nossa Senhora da Conceição was built between 1727 and 1770 by Manuel Francisco Lisboa, father of Aleijadinho, both of whom are buried in the church.