Two months ago I was packing for my trip to Brazil. Mariana was always on my list of the places I wanted to visit in Minas Gerais state and, fortunately, it was possible to go there, even though the day I went there wasn't such a nice day because the city was full of bikers and bikes due to a BTT competition! Not a good day for sightseeing and taking pictures. It wasn't a good day to buy cards either. I wanted postcards with these two churches but couldn't find any. This one was sent from Poland by Andrzej, who sent me an envelope with 37 cards last week.
Mariana was the first town, city and capital of the state of Minas Gerais. In the 17th century, it was one of the largest gold producing cities for the Portuguese Empire.
The Churches of St. Francis of Assis and Our Lady of Carmel, along with the pillory, the Town House and Jail, in the Minas Gerais Square, form one of the most beautiful architectural ensembles in the region.
Foto: Sérgio Mourão
The construction of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, on the left, began in 1763. It presents rococo style, which constitutes a later stage, in the evolution of the baroque in Minas Gerais.
One of the main attractions of the church of St. Francis of Assisi is the tomb of Manoel da Costa Athayde, an important painter of the Brazilian colonial period born in Mariana. The temple, from 1794, still houses some works by the artist, such as the paintings of the nave and the sacristy. Other highlights include the soapstone medallion and the altar reliquaries made by Aleijadinho (a Colonial Brazil-born sculptor and architect, noted for his works on and in various churches of Brazil).
The church of Our Lady of Carmel, on the right, had its construction begun in 1784. It stands out from the other churches of the city by the facade, with florões on the front and cylindrical towers. It was erected by the brothers of the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Inside, the altars are carved in a Rococo style.
In 1999, a fire destroyed all the wood elements of the main ship. Several images of the 17th and 18th centuries and the painting of the ceiling were also consumed by fire. The restoration was completed in 2006.