Between Salvador to the north and Rio to the south and inland from the coast lies the state of Minas Gerais, the heart of the gold mining activity in colonial Brazil during the 18th century.
After the gold rush most of the region's cities were abandoned, leaving behind beautiful original architecture as well as some of the richest churches ever built in Latin America.
In addition to the history and the cities, the region has beautiful scenery; mountainous landscapes, rural villages and farms, rivers, lakes and waterfalls make for superb activities for visitors; from rock-climbing and abseiling to horse riding and paragliding.
Ouro Preto's richness and status is testament to the importance of the gold and precious stones in Brazil's history and development. Tiradentes, home to the best hotel in the region, is similarly attractive and packed with cultural and historical interest; guided tours include the St. Anthony Church with its famous Sun Clock, and the Matriz Church, and it is an extremely pleasant town to wander around; a photographic opportunity at every corner.