Cláudio Manoel Square or the Cathedral
Reflected in its colonial architecture, so is the city Mariana, the first capital, the first diocese and one of the most important historical cities of the State of Minas Gerais. Founded in 1711, Mariana owns one of the most beautiful and representative baroque architectural complex of Minas Gerais and presents sharp influence of the artist Antonio Francisco Lisboa, the "Aleijadinho". Its rectangular structure is formed by three main squares, the Civic, Intendencia and Matrix.
Cláudio Manoel Square (or Cathedral Square) - where you see the Basilica Cathedral (or "Nossa Senhora da Assunção" Cathedral): its single architecture reflects the style of the first religious buildings of Minas Gerais. It is part of the richest and most important group of churches of Minas Gerais. Its works had started at the beginning of the eighteenth century, with the building of primitive chapel of "Nossa Senhora da Conceição". After successive expansions, it was completed in 1760. Outside, the building has a solid and sober aspect, but, inside, the richness of its ornamentation is impressing. Masters as Ataíde and Aleijadinho contributed with their talent to the more luxury decoration. Noteworthy are the lavatory in the sacristy (assigned to Aleijadinho) and the Arp Schnitger organ.
Here's your soundtrack. Okay, maybe they're not exactly brazillian but their music is awesome and their live shows legendary.
Now, Brazil covers almost half of South America and its Amazon rainforest is the world's largest jungle... which is rapidly getting cut down. The country is basically one giant botanical garden with some bangin' cities on its edges.
Brazil was colonized in 1808 by the royal court of Portugal, which was fleeing Napolean's troops. They didn't stay long, and Brazil won its independence in 1822.
Its biggest city, Sao Paulo, is the financial hub of South America. Brazil is the "b" in BRIC -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. These four were labeled the world's fastest developing large economies in the year 2001.
Brazil is known for three things: amazingly beautiful women, carnival, and Pele -- King of Football, Athlete of the Century, football ambassador of the world and a declared national treasure.
Brazillians can tell foreigners a mile away, by the way their hips move. Samba is built into the soul of brazil and carnival is when it bursts out into twenty-four hour undying explosions of sound on every street.
This picture of mask diving at the Taipus reefs makes me shed hot and salty tears all over my calendar, which is set on "January" right now.
Text by Steve Smith.