São Thomé das Letras
The major economic activity is stone mining and natural tourism deeply focused on the alternative lifestyle. São Thomé das Letras has a large number of waterfalls, natural jungle (known as "Mata Atlântica") and cave systems.
The name of the town was based in a legend of a black slave that found a statue of Saint Thomas with a letter of perfect writing and superb caligraph (impossible to an illiterate, untrained slave), in a grotto, after fleeing the plantation farm where he was kept captive, belonging to the powerful Baron of Alfenas (a rich landlord).
Such fact generated the posterior emancipation of the slave from its owner, who was greatly amazed by the facts and story the slave brought to him. The baron afterwards commanded the construction of a church beside of the related grotto, that today meets in what it is the center of São Thomé das Letras.
São Thomé das Letras is a typically provincial locality, built on a wide mineral quartzite deposit - known as rock-of-saint-thome (widely used in the edge pavement of swimming pools) that they had been used in the construction of some houses in the town, the stone pavement of the streets and currently heavily used in the elaboration of local handcrafts, like small houses made of rock sold as souvenir to tourists.
It's privileged localization with its rustic and typically "mineiro" countryside style, in point mountainous and raised the 1,440 meters above sea level (allowing the view of practically an all the enclosed region around, valleys and mountains), makes with that the town is preferred destination of many enthusiastic tourists of the nature and people who likes arts in general, having been also scene for an old soap opera of the extinct Manchete TV.
There are a lot of "must be seen attractions": the Grotto of São Thomé, Carimbado Grotto, Pyramid House (a mysterious and them-currently abandoned Scorpio-shaped quartzite house), rock formations - of the Witch it is most famous, constructions in rock and the waterfalls - Shangri-lá, Eubiose, Bridal Veil (Véu da Noiva), Paradise and of the Moon, among others.
Some believe that São Thomé das Letras is one of the seven energy points of the Earth, which is a main attration for mystics, spiritualists, scientific and alternative societies. All those elements give to the town the title of " Mystic". The town most famous legend regards a mystical character named Chico Taquara, that the locales believe to have control on animals and that vanished inside the Carimbado cave long ago. It's not unusual to hear about UFO sightings, many people most of them tourists usually go to the top of the hill nearby the "Casa da Piramide" looking for UFO's signs or any phenomena in the sky.