Vila Velha State Park:
In Vila Velha State Park, in Ponta Grossa, intriguing sandstone formations rise from fields which were at the bottom of an ocean 600 million years ago.
Volcanic eruptions, glaciation, and erosion by wind and rain have created over 20 gigantic shapes in which human imagination sees all kinds of things - a camel, a sphynx, or a goblet - this, the symbol of Vila Velha.
The Goblet is a key element in an indigenous myth which explains the creation of Vila Velha (see below).
Seen from a distance or from the air, Vila Velha reminds one of a medieval town, standing majestic in Paraná's Campos Gerais.
Furnas, craters which formed as sandstone collapsed and where water accumulates forming beautiful water mirrors, are another top attraction in Vila Velha.
Of the two craters known as Hell's Cauldrons, the most attractive to visitors is the deeper one, in which a panoramic elevator goes down to a deck above the water mirror.
A similar process to the creation of the craters gave origin to the Golden Pond, so called because the incidence of solar rays on it used to create a bright, golden effect, thanks to the presence of mica on the bottom.
According to recent travelers' reports, the silt deposited on the bottom of Golden Pond has reduced the golden glow, but the pond is still a sight to see.
Year of Park Creation:
Listed as a State heritage in 1966.
Vila Velha has convenient microbuses between the Visitors Center and the attractions. You'll also find a snack bar and a craft shop.
Tours go to the sandstone formations, to the craters and pond or to all of them. You can cover all the attractions in half a day, making Vila Velha a very attractive day trip from Curitiba.
R$25 (Sandstone formations, furnas and Golden Pond)
R$10 (Furnas and Golden Pond)
R$15 (Sandstone formations only)
Open all year, daily (except for Tuesdays), 8:30a-3:30p
Vila Velha is located 20 km (less than 13 miles) southeast of Ponta Grossa (pop. 306.351) on BR-376.
Ponta Grossa is about 113 kilometers (about 70 miles) northwest of Curitiba on BR-376.
The Vila Velha Myth:
The Tupi, the original indigenous inhabitants of Vila Velha, had a myth to explain the creation of the area's geological features. This is how it goes:
Once Vila Velha was called Itacueretaba – meaning “extinct city of rocks”. Itacueretaba was chosen by the ancient ones to be Abaretama, the "land of men", where a precious treasure was hidden.
Protected by Tupã, the creator, the treasure was guarded by the apiabas, men chosen among the tribe's best warriors.
Apiabas enjoyed many privileges, but were forbidden to have contact with women. Tradition had it that if women knew the Abaretama secret, they would tell the whole world, and enemy tribes would take the treasure. Tupã would then stop protecting the tribe and inflict great tragedies upon them.
Dhui, the apiaba leader chosen to protect the treasure, was a chunharapixara – a womanizer.
Knowing his weakness, rival tribes sent the lovely Aracê Poranga, or Beautiful Dawn, to try to seduce the warrior and discover the secret location of the treasure.
Aracê soon charmed Dhui and brought him a goblet containing uirucuri, a fermented beverage, to get him drunk so he would reveal the secret.
However, having fallen in love with Dhui, Aracê could not carry out the plan. Instead, she drank the uirucuri with Dhui and they made love under an ipê tree. Tupã discovered his warrior’s betrayal and, in his fury, caused an earthquake that shook all of Abaretama.
The plain was changed into a landscape of low hills. Abaretama turned into stone. Where the ground cracked, craters were formed. The treasure melted, becoming the Golden Pond.
The lovers were petrified. Between them is the goblet, as a symbol of the betrayal of Tupã’s trust. A legend says that people with a heightened sensitivity to nature and love may hear Aracê’s last words when they walk by: “Xê pocê o quê” – I will lie down with you.
Source: Ponta Grossa Tourism Secretariat
Revised on Nov.23, 2008. Guide Note: The Portuguese word "cálice" can be translated both as "chalice" or "goblet". I've changed the translation of the word in this text to "goblet" as I feel it fits the indigenous myth of which it's an important element better.