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Mariana

(3.7/5 based on 3,600+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, historic sites, museums
The oldest city in the state, colonial-era Mariana entices visitors with its wide range of architectural gems and a historic city core. Founded in 1696, Mariana's humble beginnings lie with the discovery of gold in the region: during its first 100 years, it transformed from a gritty mining hub to the seat of a bishopric, eventually developing into an important religious center with a growing population. A tour of Mariana reveals Baroque churches, antique homes, and some of the most striking public squares in the region, all surrounded by forested hills. Thanks to frequent intercity bus services, it makes a great low-key day trip from nearby Ouro Preto. Make Mariana central to your Brazil travel plans using our Brazil holiday planner.
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Where to stay

Many of the most convenient places to stay in Mariana lie within a walkable distance of one of the city's main squares, the Praca Tancredo Neves. A surprising array of accommodation options cluster in the town core, from family-run bed and breakfasts and shared houses to more upscale, resort-style hotels complete with swimming pools. Keep an eye out for "pousadas," independently-owned guesthouses or lodges, often within a historical mansion or residential building. Alternatively, nearby Ouro Preto features a larger array of accommodations, though you'll need to bus or drive into Mariana.
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