This shot captures two of the most distinguishing features of the former mining town of Ouro Preto, Brazil: its pronounced sense of heritage and its elements of outstanding baroque architecture. This doorway almost feels like a portal into the past, with its chipped facade, rusted lintel and worn steps all contributing to a feeling of tremendous age and quiet dignity.
Founded toward the end of the 17th century, Ouro Preto became home to a number of very rich Portuguese colonials as a result of the Brazilian Gold Rush. The fortunes of the town went from strength to strength as more and more gold was pulled from the earth by the area’s mines.
Significant investment was made into improving the town, which grew over time to become a prosperous and beautiful city. Its popularity and importance saw the construction of a large number of lovingly designed buildings in the years that followed, including several opulent churches and a dedicated mining school.
While the city’s economic and political importance waned in the centuries that followed – it lost its position as state capital of Minas Gerais shortly before the turn of the 20th century – it has lost none of its beauty. As such, its Old Town was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.