São João del Rei

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One of the many ornate churches and the most popular in the city, Igreja São Francisco de Assis.

São João del Rei, also spelled São João del Rey or São João del-Rei, is a Brazilian municipality in the state of Minas Gerais. It is a historical city with much XVIII century architecture. The current population is estimated in 85,000 inhabitants.

It is located in the drainage basin of the Rio Grande and its terrain is located in the Mantiqueira mountains. It is a centre for the cities in the south and southeast of Minas Gerais.

The city was founded by the bandeirantes and Tomé Portes del-Rei is considered the city's founder. The original small village situated in the south of Minas Gerais was created as an staging post on the Estrada Real trade route from the coast at Paraty to cities in the central region of Minas Gerais such as Ouro Preto, Mariana and Conselheiro Lafaiete. Later huge amounts of gold were found near the city itself.

São João del-Rei is a university town. The campus of the Federal University of São João del-Rei (UFSJ) and a number of other educational institutions are present in the city. A second medical school is to be established at the University[citation needed].

São João del-Rei is the birthplace of some distinguished people, amongst whom are President Tancredo Neves, Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, Otto Lara Resende, José Maria Xavier and Francisca Paula de Jesus.

Cathedrals and churches[edit]

  • Catedral Basílica do Pilar (1721), seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of São João del Rei
  • Rosário (1720)
  • Carmo (1733)
  • Mercês e Bonfim (1769)
  • São Francisco de Assis (1774)
  • Senhor dos Montes Santo Antônio
  • N. Sra. da Piedade do Bom Despacho (antiga capela da Cadeia)

Famous people from São João del Rey[edit]

Estrada de Ferro Oeste de Minas[edit]

São João del Rei was an important station on the Estrada de Ferro Oeste de Minas, a narrow gauge railway characterised by woodburning steam locomotives, and the location of a major roundhouse. The station and surrounding facilities have been turned into Brazil's largest railway museum, and a tourist railway operates from the station to the well preserved colonial Tiradentes.


External links[edit]

¤ (Portuguese) Guia Turistico e Histórico de São João Del Rei

Coordinates: 21°08′09″S 44°15′43″W / 21.13583°S 44.26194°W / -21.13583; -44.26194