Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Polis in the South American Pyrenees

The top of Piri's tile
View of the successive roofs around Rua do Rosário
shadows of faith
Spotlight casts shadows of the faithful against the Church of Nª Srª do Rosário
Golden piri
Piri lighting in golden tones that match the Gold Cycle that gave rise to the city
T-shirts against naked trunks
A peladinha on the edge of the Rio das Almas
Piri landscape
Down the Street
work jewelry
One of the many jewelers in Pirinópolis works a thread.
The golden sunset of Pirenópolis
Western Brazilian
Horsemen cross the Ponte do Carmo, over the Rio das Almas, the river from which the gold that financed Pirenópolis was extracted.
path of faith
Resident drives a carriage in front of the church of Nª Srª do Rosário
Paepalanthus or Caliandra
Shower detached from the cerrado around Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil
Chris in the workshop
Cristiano Costa works in jewelry using natural elements from the Cerrado.
Facade & Buritizeiros
The facade of the church of Nª Srª do Rosário accompanied by its buritize palm trees
Nª Srª Rosário Church-Pirenópolis-Goiás-Brasi
Little Blue Shop
Portuguese roofs of Pirenópolis
Pirenópolis house as seen from the top of one of the towers of the church of Nª Srª do Rosário.
Palm trees above the Casario
Huge buritizeiros seem to watch over life in Pirenópolis.
horse bath
Boys and some horses bathe in the Almas river, right next to the Carmo bridge.
Of service
Babilónia Farm cooks prepare a meal
In full Petrocity
Guides enter the City of Stone
Mines of Nossa Senhora do Rosário da Meia Ponte were erected by Portuguese pioneers, in the peak of the Gold Cycle. Out of nostalgia, probably Catalan emigrants called the mountains around the Pyrenees. In 1890, already in an era of independence and countless Hellenizations of its cities, Brazilians named this colonial city Pirenópolis.

We spent some of our many days in Pirenópolis staying in a hotel located on the opposite slope to the old center.

It is from the privileged viewpoint of its terraces that we admire the centuries-old houses.

From there, we can better understand how it has adapted to the verdant mountain range of the Pyrenees, how it has intruded and integrated into the tropical vegetation: in buritis, coconut trees, tamarinds.

The symbiosis of its history with the mountains and the immense Cerrado around explains, in fact, why an exotic passage is part of local life, with emphasis on the exuberant, elusive and always busy toucans.

From time to time, these climbing birds also fly over us at great speed, above streets, narrow streets, alleys and avenues bordered by small single-story houses and some mansions.

Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário and houses of Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

The church of Pirenópolis, of Nª Srª do Rosário, stands out from the colonial houses and from the vegetation that surrounds Pirenópolis.

Colonial Houses and Providential Nature

In Piri, the buildings have white walls. They have colorful door and window frames, covered in Portuguese tiles, part of which is still molded into the thighs of slaves.

Whether they were homes or not, almost all constructions were financed by gold extracted from the Rio das Almas and surrounding basin.

The dry season in the state of Goiás and the immense Brazilian Central Plateau had been in effect for over a month. Day after day, we walked to the center of Pirenópolis under a blue sky, here and there, dotted with stray skeins of cloudiness.

We went down Rua do Carmo. We crossed the old bridge of the same name, still made of red and white wood today, announced by Parisian lamps.

One of those elegant lamps that, with profits from gold, diamonds and coffee, were used to illuminate wealthy Brazilian towns.

Riders cross the Ponte do Carmo, Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

Horsemen cross the Ponte do Carmo, over the Rio das Almas, the river from which the gold that financed Pirenópolis was extracted.

Here and there, keeping an eye on the greenish flow of the Almas, we see how, in Pirenópolis, times merge harmoniously.

In the middle of the long season Feast of the Holy Spirit site – one of the most exuberant on the face of the earth – we are forced to give way to caravans of horsemen dressed in the equestrian fashion of two or three centuries ago.

On the other side of Almas, right in the middle of Avenida Beira-Rio, we come across a fierce battle: t-shirts against bare torsos, on the irregular street opposite Beco da Cadeia.

Peladinha in Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

A peladinha on the edge of the Rio das Almas

The Religious and Social Core of the Church of Nª Srª do Rosário

We go to Rua do Rosário, the city's way of faith that leads to the Church of Nª Senhora do Rosário, the first and largest religious building in the State of Goiás.

This church was built between 1732 and 1736, at the height of the gold abundance.

It was presented with such sumptuousness that, taking into account the parameters of the region, it began to be seen as a true cathedral.

Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

The façade of the church of Nª Srª do Rosário accompanied by its buritis palm trees

It marked – as it still does – the geographical and social center of the city, to which the divine duo of large buritis palm trees that almost form part of the façade contribute.

There we see the masts almost as high as the buritis that bear the banners of the Feast of the Holy Spirit. There, masses after masses are held, weddings, baptisms, communions, musical rehearsals and many other events.

There we admired the spontaneous theater of the shadows of believers watching a distant fireworks display.

Between the spotlights and the white walls of the church, and the participants in an eminent procession that soon disappears into the resplendent, somewhat extraterrestrial gold of the nave.

Shadow of believers from Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

Spotlight casts shadows of the faithful against the Church of Nª Srª do Rosário

Born of the gold diverted to the Goyás

 The festival that gave rise to the blessed Pirenópolis of our days resulted from the determination of Portuguese bandeirantes:

Amaro Leite, Urbano do Couto Menezes, the latter, companion of Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva, son of a Portuguese bandeirante of the same name.

Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva, father, was the author of so many atrocities committed against the Goyas that this group of indigenous people called him the anhanguera, old devil, in your dialect.

Bartolomeu da Silva – his son – obtained from the governor of the Province of São Paulo the concession of the territory of the goyas around Meia-Ponte.

This is how the area became known after a flood from the Almas River destroyed half of the bridge that allowed it to cross.

Equine bath in Rio das Almas, Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

Boys and some horses bathe in the Almas river, right next to the Carmo bridge.

The Profitable Gold of Souls

In return, the governor demanded that the gold mines be exploited by the Portuguese. To fulfill it, the anhanguera son – meanwhile installed in Vila Boa (today, Goiás Velho)  - land of the writer Cora Coralina – Manuel Rodrigues Tomar was tasked with founding a camp.

Prospecting followed. Along the Rio das Almas, gold appeared in large quantities.

He made several Portuguese settlers millionaires. He financed the expansion of the village of Minas de Nossa Senhora do Rosário da Meia Ponte, and the construction of four churches.

Meia Ponte gained an unexpected civilizational boost.

And it began to compete with Vila Boa for the status of wealthiest city in the state of Goiás. This was the case until 1800.

Golden colonial street in Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

Piri lighting in golden tones that match the Gold Cycle that gave rise to the city

The Inevitable Financial Decline of Pirenópolis

At the turn of the 19th century, gold was already scarce. Goiás' commercial routes began to focus on another neighbor, Anápolis. Many of the inhabitants emigrated.

Ninety years later, Meia Ponte was renamed Pirenópolis.

Piri only recovered from the doldrums after 1960. First, with the almost messianic construction of Brasilia, lacking raw materials, in particular the abundant quartzite around Pirenópolis.

After another twenty years, communities in search of an alternative life rejuvenated Piri's notoriety.

They attracted migrants and visitors from the new Brazilian capital there.

Casario de Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

Pirenópolis house as seen from the top of one of the towers of the church of Nª Srª do Rosário.

Farms and farms surround Pirenópolis with pastures conquered from the cerrado, dotted with cattle, termite mounds and yellow or an unlikely pink ipe.

The Babylonian Story-Producing Farm

On one of our many Pyrenean days, we woke up early. We meet with Dª Telma who takes us to her Babilónia farm, the most emblematic in the region, located 24 km from the center of Pirenópolis.

We thus emulate the visit program of our well-traveled father of democracy, former president Mário Soares. “If you want to know, I found him very friendly, sincere, very “down to earth” Dª Telma assures us.

“He seemed like one of those people who makes you want to hug. And this, even if he refused a tamarind juice and a passion fruit juice from his Breakfast.

One was too bitter, the other too sweet, he said.”

Babilónia Farm cooks prepare a meal

With more than two centuries of history, Fazenda Babilónia was – before changing owners – the sugarcane mill of São Joaquim, one of the largest in Brazil at a time when hundreds of slaves worked there.

The current owners have respected the structure and colonial appearance.

In 1965, the farm was named Historical Heritage.

Continues to serve the same Breakfast Delicious and varied colonial Goiás served by nostalgic cheeks.

Pirenópolis of the Pyrenees, Cerrado and Cidade de Pedra

New day, new explorations. We met Cristiano Costa, at the time President of the Guias Association, at the CAT - Tourist Service Center.

A proud son of Pirenópolis, Cris is immediately available. In the following times, between walks, walks and logistical solutions, he, his brother Tilapa and Kike Palma – a friend of both – would prove to be instrumental in accompanying the Feast of the Holy Spirit that we carried out.

To tell the truth, much more than what we did in Pirenópolis.

Cris wanted to show us one of his favorite places around Piri. Eager for everything new, we immediately joined the challenge.

The next morning, very early, we joined a small delegation joined by his colleagues Eduardo and Jorginho.

First aboard a jeep, we enter the Serra dos Pireneus State Park, along a path that runs between the emblematic Morro do Cabeludo and the Três Picos: o Pai (1385m), o Filho and Espírito Santo.

Chuveirinho from the cerrado around Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

Shower detached from the cerrado around Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

More than 50km from Piri, above a thousand meters of altitude, we started to walk among buritis, cacti and showers (paepalanthus, caliandras or evergreens), emblematic plants of the Cerrado, with white flowers that look like drops of water.

The Stone Town of the Cerrado

Finally, we find the destination of the journey. The local Stone Town is considered the largest and most labyrinthine in Brazil.

Located beyond Três Picos, this geological work of art was bequeathed by the erosion of sandstone and quartzite.

Stone City, outskirts of Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

Guides enter the City of Stone

They dictated carbon 14 tests that began to form around 800 million years ago, beginning in the Precambrian period.

Cidade de Pedra appears in an area of ​​rocky savanna filled with large rock formations, some of which are true jagged pinnacles that have long defied gravity.

In 1871, who is believed to have been the first man to leave a written description of the place, French physician and naturalist Francois Trigant des Genettes saw much more.

city ​​but not so much

He suggested that the Stone City should be a kind of lost Atlantis, with fortified walls, squares, streets, ruins of statues, temples, theaters and palaces, homes and even tombs.

From then on, little will have changed. With the “city” in front of us and plenty of time to contemplate it, we came to the conclusion that the naturalist’s imagination had little that was natural about it.

It largely supplanted that of Cris and her colleagues who, from time to time, called our attention to certain familiar forms: the orangutan, the little witch, among many others.

At first, the eccentricity of Cris' Portuguese language amused us. It reminded us of the lines of Urtigão, the famous country character from Brazilian Disney books.

Like many people from Goiás without extensive studies, Cris exchanged the them (Ls) for the rres. But not only. At the same time, he ran over the number agreement left and right.

Accordingly, to say “the bicycles”, I would say “the bicicreta”.

Cristiano Costa at his jewelry studio in Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

Cristiano Costa works in jewelry using natural elements from the Cerrado.

The Prodigious Jewelers of Pirenópolis

Cristiano Costa could lack better opportunities, but never the determination. In addition to guiding outsiders, Cris created jewelry in a handcrafted mini-studio that she had built in the house where she lived with her family.

He even showed us how, with great patience and thoroughness, he combined amethysts, topaz, tourmalines, emeralds, aquamarines – with seeds, metals and other materials.

He was not the only one to do this in Pirenópolis. Lacking other jobs, many Pyrenees became jewelers and design their own works of art.

The best ones end up supplying local stores, those in other parts of Brazil and even abroad. Piri has around a hundred studios.

It employs around 300 artisans, some with their own prodigious styles.

Goldsmith in action in Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

One of the many jewelers in Pirinópolis works a thread.

A period in which the business almost always prospers is the last days of the Feast of the Holy Spirit, when the Cavalcades of the city take place at the local Cavalhódromo:

Christian knights against Moors, it doesn't matter if we are in the heart of South America.

Sunset over Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil

The end of the day fully lightens the city's diffuse silhouettes.

The next morning, as happens year after year, the infidels were defeated.

The Knights went into rest mode.

Piri returned to live in the absolute peace of Divine Holy Spirit.

Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Ride of Faith

Introduced in 1819 by Portuguese priests, the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Pirenópolis it aggregates a complex web of religious and pagan celebrations. It lasts more than 20 days, spent mostly on the saddle.
Pirenópolis, Brazil

Brazilian Crusades

Christian armies expelled Muslim forces from the Iberian Peninsula in the XNUMXth century. XV but, in Pirenópolis, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, the South American subjects of Carlos Magno continue to triumph.
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A Gold Rush Legacy

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Gem-stone Bahia

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The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

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The South Atlantic Azorean Legacy

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In Ilhabela, on the way to Bonete

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The Flooded Brazil of Passo do Lontra

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The Buffalo Island

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The Great Water Thunder

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Meeting the Meeting of the Waters

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From Nightmare to Dazzle

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Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

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Winter White
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Kukenam reward
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Walter Peak, Queenstown, New Zealand
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Sheki, Azerbaijan

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A Market Economy

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Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

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