Tiradentes, in Minas Gerais, is one of the best cities in Brazil for sightseeing on foot. Even though the downtown district is open to cars, most people recognize that vehicles are a nuisance both to drivers and pedestrians and leave them outside the most touristic area.
The brief walking tour suggested here can be taken in about two hours, with a quick overview of the stores you will find along the way.
Colonial stone-slab paving can be taxing on your feet. Make sure you wear your most comfortable walking shoes. Wear sunblock and sunglasses and carry a bottle of water.
The historical data provided in this tour comes from texts by historian Olinto Rodrigues dos Santos Filho, a member of the Tiradentes Historical and Geographical Institute (Instituto Histórico e Geográfico.
We start our tour at the São José Water Fountain (the Chafariz, pronounced “shafaREEZ”). It was built by the City Council in 1749 and it still brings water directly from a spring in Serra de São José, the mountain range beyond Tiradentes. In colonial times, it served a triple purpose: the front part was meant for fetching water, the right side for washing clothes in and the left side was a drinking trough. Saint Joseph, the patron saint of Vila de São José, original name of Tiradentes, is represented in a central niche above the gargoyle-shaped spouts.
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