by Jorge Sanchez - 10 months, 2 weeks ago
I reached Congonhas late in the evening, coming from Belo Horizonte. I walked from the bus station until downtown and found a hotel at abordable prices and rented a room. After that had some dinner and slept. Early in the morning I walked up a hill until the goal of my journey to Congonhas, the stunning Sanctuary. There were restaurations in the main church, but anyway I could visit its interior and places around, which showed italian influence and a rococo style. I also enjoyed climbing the hill. At both sides of the hilly street I saw chapels, six in total, and inside I could distinguish the scenes representing the Via Crucis of Jesus. I imagine that during Easter they show these statues to the public and make parades and ceremonies for the many pilgrims that travel to that Sanctuary. The most impacting for me was the sculptures of the twelve Prophets, They were amazing, very realistic and each statue, apart from a Prophet, had a parallelism with a Brazilian personage. For instance, one of the Prophets (Jonah) had the face of Tiradentes, a hero and member of the Brazilian revolutionary movement, who was born in Minas Gerais and was hanged in Rio de Janeiro by the Portuguese authorities, and his body was quartered. It was the beginning of a movement to liberate Brazil from Portugal. Not far from the Sanctuary there was the Romaria, a very interesting architecture complex looking like an arena for bullfighting. It was inside that building that I found the tourist office, where they supplied me brochures and maps. Back in downtown Congonhas I had to hitchhike until Ouro Preto, that I would visit the next day.