Santa Barbara

Historical City of Gold Circuit of Minas Gerais state, located 98 km from Belo Horizonte (using the BR 381/262 and MG 436 highways) in the heart of Estrada Real. The bucolic landscape, with its churches, roofs and backyards, at the foot of the imposing Sierra Caraça, make Santa Barbara one of the most beautiful places of Minas Gerais. Quiet and cozy city, despite the turmoil of the current phase of economic development, is also provided with a simple and hospitable people preserving their traditions and maintaining an active cultural life.


The origins of Santa Barbara dates from the period of gold exploration in Minas Gerais, in the early eighteenth century. The pioneer Paulo Antônio Silva Bueno, exploring the edges of an existing creek in the skirts of Sierra Caraça found there rich gold mines. He named this stream Santa Barbara since he had arrived here on December 4, 1704, the day of the Saint with this name, as recorded in the liturgical calendar.

Since the beginning, the wealth of the mines discovered by Bueno at the banks of the Santa Barbara creek, awakens the greed of other adventurers miners. Hoping to enrich themselves, they settled in this promising region. Thus emerges the camp of Santo Antonio do Ribeirão de Santa Barbara (St. Anthony of Santa Barbara Creek). St. Anthony because he was the patron saint of newcomer pioneers, and Santa Barbara because it was a holy day celebrated on December 4. A chapel is soon erected.

According to historical records, the construction of the Church of St. Anthony was started in 1713. As the camp grew, other churches and chapels were being built. Later the city became important in the route between the Court, in Rio de Janeiro, and the mines of central / northern Minas Gerais (Estrada Real - Caminho dos Diamantes or Royal Road - Diamond Way). In 1817 it was visited by the expedition of naturalists Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius and Johann Baptiste von Spix on their passage through the Minas Gerais backlands. It was elevated to the status of Village on March 16, 1839, and in 1858 the condition of the city with the name "Santa Bárbara do Mato Dentro". In 1861, the British who had arrived there founded the Santa Barbara Mining Company, in the region that today lies the districts of Florália and Bateias, aiming to reassume the gold exploration. Around 1870, it was visited by Emperor Dom Pedro II, in the Sanctuary of Caraça, he said that "only this landscape has already paid the trip to Minas Gerais".

Culture and tourism

"The city offers as attractions some buildings of the eighteenth century including the Mother Church of Santa Barbara, dedicated to St. Anthony and built in 1724, the colonial baroque style, recently restored, highlighting the roof of the nave painted by Mestre Manuel da Costa Ataíde."

"There still are colonail styled houses from the nineteenth century in the historic center of the city, especially the Municipality, the Hotel Quadrado, the old City Jail (future Municipal Museum), Pharmacia Sant'Anna (current Municipal Judiciary  Museum), the Chalet Baroque, the House of Culture, Igrejinha de Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Negros (Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks) and colonial styled houses at Rabelo Horta Street. It has another three churches, several baroque chapels and the Peti Dam, environmental protected area and ecological reserve owned by Cemig, released for research, fishing and visits."

As temporary touristic attractions, Santa Barbara has several events: the Cavalhada of Santo Amaro (Saint Amaro Horseback Ride, on the first Sunday of July, Milk Tournament and Agricultural Exhibition, the second weekend of July, the Multi-Sectorial Fair, the third weekend of September, with horseback riding, rodeos and animated shows from popular artists, and the city's anniversary, on December 4, with varied cultural program. Santa Barbara is a very calm and nice to visit.

"In the sub-district André do Mato Dentro, occurs in October, the traditional Feast of St. Gerald and St. Anthony with religious attractions, such as masses and processions, the presentation of Santo Antonio Musical Corporation and the expected Women Horseback Ride- considered the only of its kind in the state. In Bateias, in the week of June 17, there is the traditional Feast of St. Manuel, which draws a crowd and is considered one of the most beautiful in the city."

Main attractions:

Mother Church of  St. Anthony



Details of the Mother Church of St. Anthony with baroque treasures from Master Athayde. Notable rosewood balustrades that are opposed to the frames imitating marble, the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, with Moorish gold-plated dome, the pulpits assigned to Aleijadinho, the convoluted side altars and the beautiful and breathtaking paintings in blue and red - the lining of the nave one refers to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and the main chapel one, considered the masterpiece of Athayde, the ascension of Jesus Christ.

The master also signs the drawings of the rococo altarpiece, of the screens on the biblical passage of the prodigal son return and the panels in the style of Portuguese tiles depicting the life and death of Abraham. The tour ends on the balustrade of the chapel, all gold plated, the galleries reserved for the elite of the time.

Railroad Station

Capela de Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Negros  (Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks - XVIII century – Heritage listed by IEPHA - City Council.

Casa do Mirante (Viewpoint House) -   XVIII century – Heritage listed by IEPHA - City Council.

Casarão Afonso Pena (Afonso Pena House) or Casa Grande

The Casa Grande (meaning the main farm house in the colonial period), which hosts the Affonso Penna Memorial, is located in the complex of the Santa Barbara Historical Center. Besides being a specimen of the colonial architecture, it has great historical and symbolic relevance for the Santa Barbara citizens, since former President Augusto Moreira Affonso Penna was born here on November 30, 1847.
"The house shows the evolution of typical residences of the colonial period. Its features and architectural typology possibly dating from century. XVIII, with remarkable characteristics of the early XIX century, like windows with embossed wooden lintels, basement area, sash and glass windows, a considerable number of openings and high ceilings"



Mausoleum and monument - Installed in the garden of the Memorial, the mausoleum - with the remains of Affonso Penna, his wife Maria Guilhermina de Oliveira Penna and his three sons, Alvaro Augusto Moreira Penna, Olga Affonso Penna and Dorah Moreira Penna - was transferred from the Sao Joao Batista cemetery in Rio de Janeiro. The monument was opened in 1912 - three years after the death of Affonso Penna - was made ​​of Carrara marble by José Maria Oscar Rodolfo Bernardelli, famous Mexican artist living in Brazil in the late nineteenth century. The tomb consists of four Arcadian columns, lying on its cover a stained glass window with the flag of Brazil. The figure of a woman weeping over a gravestone of 3000 Kg represents the Republic. The mausoleum style is eclectic, mixing Neo Classic with Art Nouveau.

Chapel of Archconfraternity Cord of St. Francis

Recanto Verde Park

Casa do Mel de Santa Bárbara (House of Honey)

Casa da Cultura (Culture House)


Other attactions:

Old Pharrmácia Sant'Anna (D. Nini's) -  XVIII century – Heritage listed by IEPHA - City Council.

Hotel Quadrado


Old Jail

Our Lord of Bonfim Chapel

St. Manuel Church ( in Bateias)

St. Joseph Chapel (in Sumidouro)

Rocky waterfalls ( in Bateias)

Bicame de pedra (a stone aqueduct)

Between the cities of Santa Barbara and Catas Altas in a secondary road stands out in the landscape the ruins of an impressive engineering project of the eighteenth century. A large aqueduct known as "Bicame de Pedra."

Built in quartzite of the Moeda type, its purpose was to bring water from the stream Quebra-Ossos, with its headwaters in the mountains of Caraça, to the farms and mines in the region. Currently, there are about 200 meters of the monument, which has focused upon a gate with the inscription of the date of construction - 1792. Embedded in its side, a stone staircase leads to the top of the aqueduct.

According to reports the aqueduct originally stretched for 18 kilometers.


Ruins of a Bicame, or aqueduct, built of stone in 1792 to carry water from the Sierra Caraça to the village of Brumado today Brumal. Today only remains 200m long and a staircase that leads to the top.

Picturesque locations:

André do Mato Dentro is privileged with its fresh water springs, waterfalls, forming the St. John River, which passes the city of Barao de  Cocais. It is also surrounded by the mountains of Gandarela, Almeida and close to the Gongo Soco Sierra, forming a beautiful natural landscape, attractions for those seeking tranquility and fresh air.

Cruz dos Peixotos: The history of the Cruz dos Peixotos begins with the casting of iron in the region to manufacture horseshoes. This was the first activity performed by the inhabitants of the Community. As such, cattle ranching and subsistence farming were also major highlight.



  • Estrada do Caraça - Km 2,6 - Brumal - Santa Barbara - MG
  • (31) 9916-6683