The Pelourinho, where colonial Portuguese used to publicly hang criminals, now hosts arts and dance events in Salvador da Bahia. The Carnaval in this African-influenced city is second only to Rio de Janeiro in reputation, and apparently second to none for wild partying. Though Brazil is general is better known for the friendly and rambunctious joie-de-vivre of its people, it is also home to the perhaps the finest colonial architecture in South America, collectively.
Though Ouro Preto,
pictured here, is the easily the most visited and best known of
Brazil's colonial gold mining towns in the Minas Gerais province, it is
far from alone. Over a half dozen
preciously preserved colonial towns dot the hills between Rio de
Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, the 4th city of Brazil. From a
cultural and heritage standpoint, this has to be the most undervisited
region in all of South America.
The cathedral in São João del Rei is one of many gorgeous church interiors in Minas Gerais designed in the flamboyant Brazilian baroque style of Brazilian artist Aleijadinho.
Aleijadinho's sculptures of the 12 prophets at the Bom Jesus
Sanctuary of Congonhas show startling emotion and expression, single
handedly earning the site its World Heritage status.
Argentina and Brazil may fight on pride to claim as their own the sublime Iguazú or Iguaçu Falls that run along both sides of their shared border, but no one can reproach the spectacular beauty of these dozens of cascades, easily the most beautiful in the world. Which side has the better side of the Falls is much debated, and my answer to that is that you feel the power of the water more on the Argentine side, but the Brazilian side is more aesthetic as a visual composition. Since this photo was taken from a viewing platform extending into the river from the Brazilian side (on the left half), I'm classifying this under Brazil
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