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Belo Horizonte
—  Municipality  —
The Municipality of Belo Horizonte
From upper left: Night view; Curral mountain range; Belo Horizonte skyline; and Mineirão Stadium.


Nickname(s): BH, The Garden City
Belo Horizonte is located in Brazil
Belo Horizonte
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 19°55′8.88″S 43°56′19.2″W / 19.9191333°S 43.938667°W / -19.9191333; -43.938667
Country  Brazil
Region Southeast
State  Minas Gerais
Founded 1701
Incorporated (as city) December 12, 1897
 - Mayor Marcio Lacerda (PSB)
 - Municipality 330.9 km2 (127.7 sq mi)
 - Urban 282.3 km2 (109 sq mi)
 - Metro 9,459.1 km2 (3,652 sq mi)
Elevation 852.19 m (2,796 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Municipality 2,452,617 (4th)
 Density 7,290.8/km2 (17,521/sq mi)
 Metro 5,397,438
 - Demonym Belorizontino
Time zone BST (UTC-3)
 - Summer (DST) BDT (UTC-)
Postal Code 30000-000
Area code(s) +55 31
HDI (2000) 0.839 – high
Website Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais

Belo Horizonte (lit. "Beautiful Horizon", Portuguese pronunciation: [bɛloɾiˈzõtʃi][1]) is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, located in the southeastern region of Brazil. It is the third-largest metropolitan area in the country. Belo Horizonte (or "Beagá", as it is also familiarly known from the sound of its initials "BH" in Portuguese) has a population of over 2.4 million, or almost 5.4 million in the official Metropolitan Area.

The region was first settled in the early 18th century, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, in order to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais. The city features a mixture of contemporary and classical buildings, and hosts several modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. In planning the city, Aarão Reis and Francisco Bicalho sought inspiration in the urban planning of Washington D.C.[2] The city has employed notable programs in urban revitalization and food security, for which is has been awarded international accolades.

The city is built on several hills and completely surrounded by mountains.[3] There are several large parks in the immediate surroundings of Belo Horizonte. The "Parque das Mangabeiras", located six kilometres south-east from the city centre in the hills of the Serra do Curral, affords a view over the city. It has an area of 2.35 km2 (580 acres), of which 0.9 km2 (220 acres) is native forest. The "Mata do Jambeiro" nature reserve extends over 912 hectares (2,250 acres), with vegetation typical of the Atlantic forest. More than one hundred species of bird inhabit the reserve, as well as ten different species of mammal.



Surrounding cities and metropolitan area

Municipalities of the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte.

The nonspecific term "Grande BH" ("Greater Belo Horizonte") denotes any of Belo Horizonte's metropolitan area definitions. The legally defined Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte consists of 34 municipalities in total, and a population of 4,939,053 inhabitants (as of 2007, according to IBGE)[4][5].

The intense process of conurbation that currently occurs in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte has made ineffective the political boundaries between some municipalities in the region, creating a city whose center is in Belo Horizonte and reaches municipalities, such as Contagem, Betim, Nova Lima, Ribeirão das Neves, Santa Luzia and Sabará, among others.

Because of the fact that the capital is a young city, the municipality of Belo Horizonte is much smaller than most major Brazilian centers, which tends to diminish the proportion of peripheral lower-income population situated inside the city's formal limits in comparison to these other large cities in the southeast of Brazil. This is an important fact to take into consideration when analyzing the city's indicators, especially those involving income distribution or the proportion of people living below the poverty line in the population.

The limits of the municipality are Vespasiano on the north, Santa Luzia on the northeast, Sabará on the east, Nova Lima on the southeast, Brumadinho on the south and Ribeirão das Neves, Contagem and Ibirité on the west. The Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte is also composed of the municipalities of Baldim, Betim, Caeté, Capim Branco, Confins, Esmeraldas, Florestal, Igarapé, Itaguara, Itatiaiuçu, Jaboticatubas, Juatuba, Lagoa Santa, Mario Campos, Mateus Leme, Matozinhos, Nova União, Pedro Leopoldo, Raposos, Ribeirão das Neves, Rio Acima, Rio Manso, São Joaquim de Bicas, São José da Lapa, Sarzedo and Taquaraçu de Minas.


As a region of contact between different geological series of the Proterozoic, is composed of crystalline rocks, which gives to the territory different landscapes. It's located in a large geological unit known as craton of San Francisco, referring to extensive crustal nucleus of central-eastern Brazil, tectonicly stable at the end of the Paleoproterozoic and bordering areas that suffered the regeneration at the Neoproterozoic.

Elevation map of Belo Horizonte.

The archean rocks members of Belo Horizonte complex and supracrustais sequences of the Paleoproterozoic is predominant. The area of Belo Horizonte complex includes the geomorphological unit called Depression of Belo Horizonte, which represents about 70% of the municipality area and has its greatest expression in the northern Ribeirão Arrudas (Rues Stream) pipeline. The metasedimentary rocks has its area of occurrence on the south of Ribeirão Arrudas pipeline, constituting about 30% of the area of Belo Horizonte. The characteristics of this area are lithological diversities and rugged topography, which has its maximum expression in the Serra do Curral (Corral Mountain), the southern boundary of the municipality.

Its soil comprises a succession of layers of rocks of varied composition, represented by itabirite, dolomite, quartzite, filities and schists different from the general direction northwest-southeast and dip to the southeast.

The hills of Belo Horizonte are ramifications of the Espinhaço Mountains and belong to the group of the Itacolomi Mountains. Around the city are the mountains of Jatobá, José Vieira, Mutuca, Taquaril and Curral. The highest point in the municipality is in the Serra do Curral, reaching 1,538 meters (5,046 ft).


Elementary basins of Belo Horizonte.

Located in the San Francisco Basin, Belo Horizonte is not surrounded by any large river, but on its soil there are several streams and brooks, mostly channeled. The capital is served by two sub-basins, Ribeirão Arrudas (Rues Stream) and Ribeirão da Onça (Jaguar Stream), tributaries of the Rio das Velhas (Velhas River). The two sub-basins are located in the top of Rio das Velhas and covers the municipalities of Belo Horizonte and Contagem, in an area of 525.58 km² and located on the left bank of the Rio das Velhas. This is the most urbanized region of the basin, with an estimated population of 2,776,543 million people, according to the IBGE, 2000.[6]

The Ribeirão Arrudas crosses the city from west to east. Further north, part of the basin is in Ribeirão do Onça, dammed to form the shell of the same name, one of the corners of the city's tourism and leisure. The Ribeirão Arrudas ends in the municipality of Sabará and the Ribeirão da Onça in Santa Luzia, both in Rio das Velhas.

A channelized section of the Ribeirão Arrudas, with the Serra do Curral mountains in the background.

The Ribeirão Arrudas and Ribeirão da Onça are responsible for drainage of most sewers in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte and still suffer with the decrease in the areas of drainage and disorderly occupation of hillsides and valley, problems caused by the intense occupation of areas of the sub-basin. When these rivers empty their waters in the Rio das Velhas, is observed a sharp deterioration in the quality of this river.

The process of urbanization of the municipality tried hiding the water courses. The channelization was a practice but the orientation of the current municipal administration is not to channelizate the water courses.

In these streams are not found fish in most of its length. As in some tributaries in better conditions, such as in drainages in the Mangabeiras Park may still be found some small catfishes and others. In the Pampulha dam, belonging to the sub-basin of the Riberão do Onça, there are about 20 species, some exotics such as tilapia, of African origin.[6]

With two sewage treatment stations running, Belo Horizonte and Contagem have the capacity to treat 100% of their effluent.[6][7]


Belo Horizonte's climate can be classified as Tropical of altitude, with yearly average temperature between 9 and 35 °C (48 and 95 °F). The Köppen climate classification of the region is tropical savanna climate, (Tropical on high altitudes, humid/warm summer and a dry/cool winter). As a city located in the southern Hemisphere, Belo Horizonte's spring starts in September, its summer in December, its autumn in March, and its winter in June. Belo Horizonte is located about 300 km (200 mi) distant from the sea.

The Serra do Curral mountains are the symbol of the city.

Even though inter-seasonal differences are not as pronounced as they are in temperate places, and many people believe that, as in much of Brazil, there are just two seasons (a hot and humid one from October to March, and a colder and drier one from April to September), there is a contrast between spring and summer, and between fall and winter.

The coldest month is generally July, with a lowest recorded temperature of 2 °C (35 °F). The hottest month is usually January, with a highest recorded temperature of 35.4 °C (95.7 °F).

There can be problems related with low air humidity during August. The 852 m (2795 ft) elevation of Belo Horizonte helps a little in cooling the city, suppressing high maximum air temperatures experienced in nearby cities at lower altitudes.

Belo Horizonte's climate is mild throughout the year. Temperatures vary between 11 and 31 °C (52 and 88 °F), the average being 20 °C (68 °F). Winter is dry, and summer is rainy.

Climate data for Belo Horizonte
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35
Average high °C (°F) 26
Daily mean °C (°F) 24
Average low °C (°F) 22
Record low °C (°F) 17
Precipitation cm (inches) 29
Source: Weatherbase[8]


Station Square in Belo Horizonte.

The metropolis was once a small village, founded by João Leite da Silva Ortiz, a bandeirante explorer from São Paulo. Having found a location with pleasant weather, a nice landscape and good soil for farming, the explorer settled in the region in 1701, leaving a gold hunting expedition. He then established a farm called "Curral d'el Rey", archaic Portuguese for the "King's Corral, which in modern Portuguese would be spelled Curral do Rei." The farm's wealth and success encouraged people from surrounding places to move into the region, and Curral del Rey became a village surrounded by farms.

Another important growth factor of the village were the migrants from the São Francisco river region, who had to pass through Curral d'el Rey in order to reach southern parts of Brazil. Travelers usually visited a small wooden chapel, where they prayed for a safe trip. Because of that, the chapel was named Capela da Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, which means "Chapel of Our Lady of the Good Journey." After the construction of Belo Horizonte, the old baroque chapel was replaced by a neo-gothic church which became the city's cathedral.

The previous capital of Minas Gerais, Ouro Preto, was a symbol of both the monarchic Brazilian Empire and the period when most of Brazilian income was due to mining, and that never pleased the members of the Inconfidência Mineira, republican intellectuals who conspired against the Portuguese dominion of Brazil. In 1889, Brazil became a republic, and it was agreed that a new state capital, in tune with a modern and prosperous Minas Gerais, had to be set.

In 1893, because of good climatic and topographic conditions, Curral Del Rey was elected by Minas Gerais governor Afonso Pena from other cities as the spot for the new economical and cultural center of the state, under the new name of "Cidade de Minas," or Minas City.

Aarão Reis, an urbanist from the State of Pará, was then set to design the first planned city of Brazil, and then Cidade de Minas was inaugurated finally in 1897, with many unfinished constructions as the Brazilian Government set a deadline for its completion. Inhabitation of the city was subsidized by the local government, through the concession of free empty lots and funding for building houses. An interesting feature of Belo Horizonte Reis designed was the downtown street plan, featuring a regular array of perpendicular and diagonal streets, named after Brazilian states and Brazilian indigenous tribes.

In 1906, the name was then changed to Belo Horizonte, and at that time the city was experiencing a considerable industrial expansion that increased its commercial and service sectors. From its very beginning, the city's original plan prohibited workers to live inside the urban area which was defined by Avenida do Contorno (a long avenue which goes around the city's central areas), reserved for the public sector functionaries (hence the name of the still trendy neighborhood "Funcionários"), and causing an accelerated occupation outside the city's area well provided with infrastructure since its very beginning.

Afonso Pena Avenue.

Obviously, the city's original planners didn't count on its population growth afterwards, which proved especially intense in the last twenty years of the 20th century.

In the 1940s, a young Oscar Niemeyer designed the Pampulha Neighborhood to great acclaim, a commission he got thanks to then-mayor, soon-to-be-president Juscelino Kubitschek. These two men are largely responsible for the wide avenues, large lakes, parks and jutting skylines that characterize the city today.

Belo Horizonte is fast becoming a regional center of commerce, Google has their Latin American headquarters there, from where the popular social networking website Orkut is fully managed and operated. It continues to be a trendsetter in the arts, particularly where music, literature, architecture and the avant-garde are concerned. There are plans underway to move a complex of government ministries north of the center, onto the road to Confins International Airport, liberating space around beautiful palm-fringed Praça da Liberdade to house the city's symphony orchestra and other arts organizations.


Savassi Neighborhood, a major financial center of Belo Horizonte.

According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 5,054,000 people residing in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte. The population density was 7,290.8 inhabitants per square kilometre (18,883 /sq mi) (in the urban area). The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 2,344,000 Brown (Multiracial) people (46.38%), 2,098,000 White people (41.51%), 581,000 Black people (11.50%), 14,000 Asian people (0.27%), 14,000 Amerindian people (0.27%).[9]

The Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte is the 3rd most populous of Brazil, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The city is the 6th most populous of the country.

During the 18th century, Minas Gerais received many Portuguese immigrants, mainly from Northern Portugal as well as a huge number of slaves from Africa.[10]

Belo Horizonte has a notable Italian influence, around 30% of the city's population have some Italian origin.[11] The Italian culture is present in the cuisine, dance, and language.[12] People of German, Spanish, and Syrian-Lebanese ancestries also make up sizeable groups.[13][14]


Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 68.84% 1,541,185
Protestant 18.10% 405,265
No religion 8.04% 179,995

Source: IBGE 2000.[15]


Office buildings at Afonso Pena Avenue.

Despite its lack of beaches, Belo Horizonte annually receives large numbers of visitors, as it is in the Brazilian main economic axis, exerting influence even on other states. Both multinational and Brazilian companies, like Google and Oi, maintain their headquarters in the city. The service sector plays a very important role in the economy of Belo Horizonte, being responsible for 85% of the city's GDP, with the industry making up for most of the remaining 15%. Belo Horizonte has a developed industrial sector, being traditionally a pole of the Brazilian siderurgical and metallurgical industries, as the state of Minas Gerais has always been very rich in minerals, specifically iron ore.

Belo Horizonte is the distribution and processing center of a rich agricultural and mining region and the nucleus of a burgeoning industrial complex. Production is centred on steel, steel products, automobiles, and textiles. Gold, manganese, and gem stones mined in the surrounding region are processed in the city.[16] Belo Horizonte is home to the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

The main industrial district of the city was set during the 1940s in Contagem, a part of greater Belo Horizonte. Multinational companies like FIAT (which opened its plant in Betim in 1974), Arcelor, and Toshiba have subsidiaries in the region, along with other textile, cosmetic, food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furnishing and refractory companies. Between the companies headquartered in the city we can list siderurgicals Açominas (held by Gerdau, one of the largest multinationals originated in Brazil); Usiminas; Belgo-Mineira (held by Arcelor); Acesita (partially held by Arcelor); mobile communication Vivo; and Telecom Italia Mobile, as well as the NYSE-listed electrical company CEMIG, which is said to have the best transmission quality of Brazil. Leading steel product makers Sumitomo Metals of Japan and Vallourec of France have also recently announced plans to construct an integrated steel works on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte.


There are also a large number of small enterprises in the technological sector with regional to nationwide success, particularly in the fields of computing and biotechonology. Because of both governmental and private funding in the diversification of its economy, the city has become an international reference in Information Technology and Biotechnology, and is also cited because of the advanced corporate and university research in Biodiesel fuel.

Projects in these fields are likely to expand because of integration between universities, the oil company Petrobras and the Brazilian Government. Over 16% of the Brazilian biotechnological industries are located in Belo Horizonte, with annual revenues of more than US$ 550 million. During the past few years, the city has made investments in "Business-Tourism", by promoting more than 3,000 national or international events yearly. One of the largest events that ever took place in the city, the IDB meeting, occurred in 2005 and attracted people from everywhere in the world.

Financial center of the city

The two most important industrial clusters of the State of Minas Gerais are around the cities of Juiz de Fora and Belo Horizonte. In southern Minas Gerais, near Juiz de Fora, there is a concentration of textile industries, which started to be established in the 19th century. Belo Horizonte and vicinities (Contagem, Betim, Nova Lima, Pedro Leopoldo, Raposo, Rio Acima, Sabará, Santa Luzia e Vespasiano) have a diversified industrial complex; even though minerals processing still have a large importance, there are important industries of vehicles, food products, textile, chemicals and others. Several steel producers are established all around the State: Mannesmann, Belgo-Mineira, Acesita, Usiminas; there is an oil refinery in Betim, directly connected by pipes to the producing areas off shore the Rio de Janeiro coast; vehicle makers, like Fiat (in Betim) and Mercedes-Benz (in Juiz de Fora) have plants in Minas Gerais.

For a long time it was marked by the predominance of its industrial sector, but from the 1990s there has been a constant expansion of the service sector economy, particularly in computer science, biotechnology, business tourism, fashion and the making of jewelry. The city is considered to be a strategic leader in the Brazilian economy.

The GDP for the city was R$ 32,725,361,000 (2006).[17]

The GDP for the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte was R$ 62,329,388,000 (2005).[18]

The per capita income for the city was R$ 13,636 (2006).[19] In 2007, it was R$ 15,830.[20]


Headquarters Seculus da Avenida Afonso Pena.


Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. But English and Spanish are part of the official high school curriculum.

Educational institutions

Several higher education institutions are located in Belo Horizonte, including:


Modern Art in the city.

Several notable artistic groups originated in Belo Horizonte. Grupo Corpo, which is perhaps the most famous contemporary dance group in the country, was formed in the city in 1975.

The band Uakti is known for their own musical instruments using materials like PVC, wood, metals and glass. The origin of their name is based in a myth by the Tukano Indians, and reflects the indigenous feeling present in their works. Many important rock groups were founded in Belo Horizonte, being among them Jota Quest, Pato Fu, Skank, 14 Bis, Sepultura and Tianastácia.

Statue in Pampulha Art Museum.

Clube da Esquina is a musical movement that originated in the mid 1960s, and since that time their members have been considered influent in Minas Gerais culture and have important artists such as Tavinho Moura, Wagner Tiso, Milton Nascimento, Lô Borges, Beto Guedes, Flávio Venturini, Toninho Horta, Márcio Borges, Fernando Brant and 14 Bis, among others.

Every two years, the city realizes the FIT BH, The International Theater Festival of Belo Horizonte, which attracts artists from all over Brazil and many parts of the world. In 2006, there was an extreme sports event in Belo Horizonte with a slogan that became very popular in Belo Horizonte: "Eu amo BH radicalmente", or "I love Belo Horizonte radically."

The regional food and the "Cachaça", international drink from the State of Minas Gerais are the most top rated of this city.[24]


Belo Horizonte has a number of museums, among them: Mineiro Museum, Abílio Barreto Historic Museum, Arts and Workmanship Museum, Natural History Museum and the UFMG Botanic Gardens, Telephone Museum, Pampulha Art Museum, Mineralogy Museum Prof. Taylor Gramke, and the UFMG Conservatory. Since 2006, a contemporary art museum has been the greater Belo Horizonte also counts with a contemporary art center in its outskirts, Inhotim, located in the city of Brumadinho and home of a relevant collection of the art production from the last 30 years. The puppet theatre group Giramundo was established here in 1970, and continues to maintain a puppetry museum hosting a collection of their creations.


BH on a cloudy afternoon

Comida di Buteco

In January and February, a specialist jury selects 31 bars which, in the months of April and May, compete to see which one makes the best appetizers.

International Theater Festival

With the merger of two projects that would happen separately in 1994, one stage based, organized by the Francisco Nunes Theater, and the other street based, idealized by Grupo Galpão, came FIT-BH Palco & Rua. Produced every two years, under responsibility from the Belo Horizonte City Hall, through the Municipal Culture Office and the Association Movimento Teatro de Grupo of Minas Gerais, in the program there are street and stage shows, and also seminars, workshops, courses, talks, etc.

FID - Circulando BH

In March and April is the performance program from FID promoting contemporary dance in Belo Horizonte. The program presents groups from Belo Horizonte. For this project the priority invitations go to the shows created by groups and choreographers living in the city. The purpose is to take shows and other activities such as workshops, talks and video screenings to the less privileged regions of the city regarding access to cultural assets.


International Airport

Tancredo Neves/Confins International Airport is located in the municipalities of Lagoa Santa and Confins, 38 km (23 miles) from Belo Horizonte, and was opened in January 1984. Plans for gradual expansion to meet growing demand were already drawn up from the airport's inception. The airport has one of the lowest rates of shutdown for bad weather in the country. It ran at limited capacity until 2005, when a large proportion of Pampulha Airport air traffic was transferred to Confins.


The Viaduto Santa Tereza is dated from the foundation of Belo Horizonte and is still a very important connection between Floresta and Downtown.

The city is connected to the rest of Minas Gerais state and the country by a number of roadways. Minas Gerais has the country's largest federal highway network.[25]

The city is also served by other minor roads such as state highways MG-020, MG-050, MG-030, and MG-433. There is also an East-West Express Way, which goes from the city to the nearby industrial centers of Contagem and Betim (together having a population of ca. 900,000), and Anel Rodoviário, a kind of "beltway" - indeed it is not circumferential, but connects many highways, such as the federal (BR-ones) so it is not necessary for a large number of cars and trucks to pass through the city center. Many of these roads are in poor condition, but in the last years many revitalization and rebuilding projects have been started.

Bus system

The bus system has a large number of bus lines going through all parts in the city, and is administrated by BHTRANS. Among the upcoming projects are the expansion of the integration between bus lines and the metro, with integrated stations, many already in use. And the construction of bus corridors, with lanes and bus stops exclusively for the bus lines. Keeping buses from traffic congestions, making the trips more viable for commuters.


Belo Horizonte Metro or MetroBH started operating at the end of 1970s, and is one of the oldest urban railways in the country. There is still just one line, with 19 stations, from Vilarinho to Eldorado Station, in Contagem, but it is now insufficient to address the commuting needs of the entire city, transporting a little over 160,000 people daily. Two new lines, one from Santa Tereza to Barreiro, which is being built, and one from Pampulha to Savassi, which is being planned. There is also a project for the expansion for the first line, from Vilarinho to Ribeirão das Neves and from Eldorado to Betim. When completed, the MetroBH is expected to transport over 800,000 people daily.

Tourism and recreation

Liberty Square.
The Municipal Park (Américo Reneé Giannetti) in downtown Belo Horizonte.
Built in 1897 with the city foundation.
São Francisco de Assis Church (Pampulha's Church).

Belo Horizonte has several significant cultural landmarks, many of them situated in the Pampulha district, where there are notable examples of Brazilian contemporary architecture. These include one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, the Mineirão stadium, and the São Francisco de Assis Church, widely known as Igreja da Pampulha, designed by Brazilian Modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. In Pampulha there is also the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais campus, whose buildings themselves are important contributions to the city's architecture. Other notable Pampulha buildings include the Mesbla and Niemeyer buildings, in addition to the headquarters of corporations such as Usiminas, Seculus, and Telemig Celular.

Praça Sete de Setembro (September Seven Square) with an obelisk that celebrates Brazilian independence.

In downtown Belo Horizonte, are located the neo-Gothic Boa Viagem Cathedral, the church of São José, the Praça da Estação (Station Square), which is an old train station that now is also the Museum of Arts and Workmanship, the Municipal Park, the famous Sete de Setembro Square, where an Obelisk built in 1922 marks the one hundred years of Brazilian independence from Portugal.

Near downtown, in the Lourdes neighborhood, the Lourdes Basilica is located, which is an example of Gothic Revival style. The Nossa Senhora de Fátima Church, in Santo Agostinho neighborhood, is situated in Carlos Chagas Square. Both churches are referred to as the Assembléia Church and the Assembléia Square because of their proximity to the state's legislative assembly.

Next to downtown is the famous Savassi region, known for fine restaurants and as a center of cultural events as well as the best of the city's nightlife. Many landmarks are located there, such as the Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Plaza), and its surrounding buildings, including the Executive Offices of the governor called the Palace of Liberty (Palácio da Liberdade), the first building to be finished during the city's planned development in the late 1890s. Last but not least is the "Rua do Amendoim" (Peanut Street), an example of a gravity hill, where parked automobiles appear to roll uphill, defying gravity. Whether this is an illusion or a magnetic phenomenon is left to the visitor to decide. Though most of the effect seems to have disappeared because of housing development in the area, many people still believe that the street is magic.

Another important landmark is Praça do Papa (Plaza of the Pope), located at a high point just south of the downtown area, with its spectacular view of the entire city. It is named for the July 1, 1980 visit by John Paul II, who held a youth mass there. The nearby Parque das Mangabeiras (Mangabeiras Park) features extensive wildlife, and-owing to its considerable size-has its own bus service, which operates solely within the confines of the park.


The Mineirão Stadium with the Mineirinho arena next to it.

As in the rest of Brazil, football is the most popular sport among locals. Belo Horizonte has two of the most successful teams in the country, and the city also has one of the biggest football stadiums in the world, the Mineirão, opened in 1965. The older Independência Stadium hosted a legendary victory of the United States World Cup Team 1950 in a 1-0 triumph over England. See England v United States (1950) and[27] Atlético Mineiro, which is also called by its nickname and mascot "Galo" (rooster) . Yet, one of the oldest football clubs in the city and was founded in 1908. Atlético Mineiro was the first Brazilian champion, in 1971, and has also won two CONMEBOL Cups (nowadays called Copa Sudamericana) and 39 State Championships. In spite of so much tradition, the team has suffered through very difficult times recently and was relegated to the Brazilian Série B. However, the club won the championship in 2006 and is back to Série A in 2007.

Cruzeiro was founded in 1921 by the members of the local Italian community. Cruzeiro has been one of Brazil´s most victorious clubs in the 1990s and early 2000s, winning 4 National Cups, 1 National League, 2 Copa Libertadores, and 2 Supercopa Libertadores, and is also the winner of Taça Brasil in 1966 and 34 State Championships including Supercampeonato Mineiro in 2002. The city is also home to América Mineiro, which has its own playing field, the Independência Stadium. It was a major team in Brazil decades ago, but passed three years striving to leave Brazilian League Série C. Things came worse at the beginning of 2007. The team was relegated to the Módulo II of Campeonato Mineiro and didn't even qualify for playing the Série C, being completely out of Campeonato Brasileiro.

Besides football, Belo Horizonte has one of the largest attendances at volleyball matches in the whole country. Crowds usually go to Mineirinho in order to watch either the Brazil national volleyball team or Minas Tênis Clube matches. Minas Tênis Clube is a sport association with various modalities. Besides Mineirinho, the clubs also plays on its own ground, the modern Vivo Arena. Both its male and female volleyball teams have already won the Brazilian Superleague of Volleyball titles. Belo Horizonte is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the host nation.

Human development

Belo Horizonte at night.

The human development of Belo Horizonte varies greatly by locality, reflecting the city's spatial social inequality and vast socioeconomic inequalities. There are neighborhoods that had very high human development indexes in 2000 (equal to or greater than the indexes of some Scandinavian countries), but also those in the lower range (in line with, for example, North Africa).[28]

Highest-scoring neighborhoods and localities:

  • Carmo/Sion (0.973) - (Greater than Iceland - 0.968)
  • Cruzeiro/Anchieta (0.970) - (Greater than Iceland - 0.968)
  • Grajau/Gutierrez (0.965) - (Greater than Australia - 0.962)
  • Belvedere/Mangabeiras/Comiteco (0.964) - (Greater than Australia - 0.962)
  • Serra/São Lucas (0.953) - (Equal to Japan, Netherlands - 0.953)

Food as a right

In 1993, under mayor Patrus Ananias de Souza, the city started a series of innovations based on its citizens having the "right to food". These include, for example, creating farmers' markets in the town to enable direct sales, and regularly surveying current market prices and posting the results across the city.[29] The city's process of participatory budgeting was linked with these innovations, as a result of which the infant mortality rate was reduced by 50% in a decade.[30][31] There is also some evidence that these programs have helped support a higher quality of life for the local farmers partnering with the city, and that this may also be having positive effects on biodiversity in the Atlantic Rainforest around the city.[31][32] The city's development of these policies recently garnered the first "Future Policy Award" from the World Future Council, a group of 50 activists (including Frances Moore Lappé, Vandana Shiva, Wes Jackson, and Youssou N'Dour[33]) concerned with the development and recognition of policies to promote a just and sustainable future.

The city has also undertaken an internationally heralded project called Vila Viva ("Living Village" in Portuguese) that promises to "urbanize" the poorest areas (favelas), relocating families from areas with high risk of floods and landslides, but keeping them in the same neighborhood, paving main avenues to allow public transportation, police and postal service to have access to those areas. And all the work is done with 80% of locals, reducing unemployment and increasing family income.[34][35] Former mayor Fernando Damata Pimentel was nominated for "World's Best Mayor" in 2005 on the strength of these and other programs.[34]



Belo Horizonte has many private school institutions like Santo Agostino, Loyola, Marista, and Fundacao Torino. The institution that offers the best education is the American School of Belo Horizonte (EABH- Escola Americana de Belo Horizonte). It is acredited by the state, as well as the SACS and the IBO PYP programme and is in process of getting the MYP. It also offers sports and other after school activities. Leo, Briana and Sofia are exceptional students.

Sister cities

Belo Horizonte's sister cities are:[36]

See also

A view of Belo Horizonte.


  1. ^ This is the local pronunciation. Elsewhere in Brazil it is pronounced [bɛlu oɾiˈzõtʃi], ([bɛlu oɾiˈzõti], or [bɛlu oɾiˈzõte]
  2. ^ Belo Horizonte in Brazil Travel
  3. ^ About Belo Horizonte
  4. ^ "Estimativas / Contagem da População 2007". 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  5. ^ "Tabela 793 - População residente, em 1º de abril de 2007: Publicação Completa". 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  6. ^ a b c Projeto Manuelzão-(UFMG). Arrudas e Onça agravam situação do Rio das Velhas: Condições ambientais das sub-bacias refletem impacto da região metropolitana. Boletim das subbacias do Rio das Velhas, Belo Horizonte, n.5, p. 1-3, September 17th, 2003.
  7. ^ Projeto Manuelzão-(UFMG). "BH inaugura nova estação de tratamento de esgotos". Retrieved January 30, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Belo Horizonte". 
  9. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) Síntese de Indicadores Sociais 2008. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: IBGE. 2008. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  10. ^ Portuguese immigration
  11. ^ Italian origin in BH
  12. ^ Italian Culture in BH
  13. ^ German immigration
  14. ^ Arab immigration
  15. ^ Sistema IBGE de Recuperação Automática - SIDRA
  16. ^ BH city
  17. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) GDP. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: IBGE. 2006. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  18. ^ "Produto Interno Bruto dos Municípios 2002-2005". Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE). Retrieved 30-maio-2009. 
  19. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) per capita income. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: IBGE. 2007. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  20. ^ (in Portuguese). 2006. 
  21. ^ IBGE Number of vehicles in the city of Belo Horizonte
  22. ^ List of cities by urban area
  23. ^ Metro BH
  24. ^ Regional food and drink in BH
  25. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) Tempo bom e trânsito lento marcam volta de feriado. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Terra. 2007. ISBN 85-240-3919-1.,,OI1422832-EI306,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  26. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) Linha Verde. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Governo do Estado de Minas Gerais. 2007. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  27. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) Soccerhall. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Soccerhall. 2005. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  28. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) HDI. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: PNUD. 2000. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  29. ^ Wayne Roberts and Cecilia Rocha (2008). Belo Horizonte: The Beautiful Horizon of Community Food Sovereignty. Quebec, Canada: Alternatives International Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  30. ^ FRANCIS MOORE LAPPÉ, CounterPunch, 18 March 2009, The City That Ended Hunger
  31. ^ a b M. Jahi Chappell, PhD Thesis, 2009, From Food Security to Farm to Formicidae: Belo Horizonte, Brazil's Secretaria Municipal de Abastecimento and Biodiversity in the Fragmented Atlantic Rainforest
  32. ^ Cecilia Rocha and Adriana Aranha (2003) (PDF). Urban Food Policies and Rural Sustainability: How the Municipal Government of Belo Horizonte, Brazil is Promoting Rural Sustainability. Toronto, Canada: Centre for Studies in Food Security, and Department of Nutrition, Ryerson University. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  33. ^ The World Future Council: Councillors
  34. ^ a b Belo Horizonte Mayor Fernando Damata Pimentel: A program of financial efficiency and social boldness
  35. ^ (Portuguese) Favela é isso ai
  36. ^ "Mayor's International Council Sister Cities Program". Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  37. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei nº 1.999, de 27 de agosto de 1965". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  38. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei n° 1.485 de 7 de maio de 1968". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  39. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei n° 2.380, de 11 de dezembro de 1974". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  40. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei n° 2.492, de 22 de julho de 1975". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  41. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei n° 4.574, de 15 de outubro de 1986". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  42. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei n° 4.926, de 18 de dezembro de 1987". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  43. ^ a b Prefeitura Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Relações Internacionais - Cidades Irmãs". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  44. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei n° 8.150, de 04 de janeiro de 2001 (que altera a Lei nº 7.737, de 27 de maio de 1999)". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  45. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei nº 8.272, de 26 de dezembro de 2001". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  46. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei nº 8.443, de 25 de novembro de 2002". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  47. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei nº 8.559, de 17 de junho de 2003". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  48. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei n° 8.591, de 18 de junho de 2003". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  49. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei nº 8.729, de 06 de janeiro de 2004". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  50. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei nº 8.867, de 17 de junho de 2004". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 
  51. ^ Câmara Municipal de Belo Horizonte. "Lei nº 9.156, de 12 de janeiro de 2006". Retrieved 29 de dezembro de 2008. 

External links






Food security

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Belo Horizonte [1] is Brazil's third-largest city and the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. With its orderly grid plan and tree-lined avenues, it's a pleasant metropolis. For travelers, it's a good stopping point on the way to the beautiful colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes.


Belo Horizonte (or simply "BH" (beh-ah-GAH) to locals) is little over a century old. With a metropolitan population reaching more than 5 million (edging out Salvador), it was built as a planned city to take the place of Ouro Preto as the State's capital. Its layout features square sections drawn out by broad avenues, intersected diagonally by smaller streets.

The city lies in the center of the Minas Gerais state, and is intended to bring together the many parts of this very diverse state.

Get in

By bus

BH is a major national hub for bus travel. The bus terminal rodoviária is at downtown at the northern end of Av. Afonso Pena (avenue). Approximate travel times from other capitals:

By plane

BH is served by two airports:

  • Confins (Aeroporto Internacional Tancredo Neves - CNF) - Rodovia MG 010 S/N, 40 km - Confins/MG. Phone: (31) 3689-2700. Confins connects the city with direct flights to the USA, the Caribbean and Europe and to most major cities in Brazil through domestic flights. It's located about 40 km from the city downtown. It's connected to the downtown area by Conexão Aeroporto [2] express buses (R$ 16.90) and taxis. There is also an express bus to Pampulha and the rodoviária for R$6,45.
  • Pampulha (Aeroporto Carlos Drummond de Andrade - PLU). For some domestic flights, especially within the state of Minas Gerais. 9 km from downtown.

Get around

On foot

If you plan to get around the city center on foot, you might want to take a map. Because the city grid is laid out with both ordinals and diagonal streets, it is very easy to take a wrong turn. Also, the land where the city was build over has plenty of hills so one should wear comfortable shoes to go up and down the streets. At night, stay in the main Avenues and Streets for safety, because it can be dangerous.

By bus

BH is well served by buses. The SC buses circulate through the downtown; others serve outlying neighborhoods.

If you are outside the center, take a blue bus to the center. As there is no bus map, remember its number to find your way back. Check BHTrans-Ônibus [3] for more information of buses. You can also calculate a public transportation route through google maps [4].

The buses are pretty complicated and are excruciatingly slow and full. Don't go anywhere by yourself.

By train

The Metrô [5]. snakes through the city, from Eldorado northeast to Vilarinho, tangential to the north side of downtown. Lagoinha Station is near the rodoviária (bus station), Gameleira Station is near the ExpoMinas Convention Center and Minas Shopping Station is near the Mall of the same name and Ouro Minas Palace Hotel. Unfortunately, unlike subways in developed countries or in São Paulo, the Metrô lines, even though connecting the two biggest cities in the metro area, Belo Horizonte and Contagem, do not cover most of the city and outside the stations can be dangerous (true for São Paulo's). New lines are been planned and when completed will connect downtown to Pampulha and Savassi, the two most visited neighborhoods.

The trains are useless for someone traveling. Take a taxi.

By taxi

The main taxi companies in Belo Horizonte include Hutaxi, Jo Taxi, Intertaxi, Pitangui and Protaxi. Whatever the taxi company you choose, they're ALL white in Belo Horizonte. Inside the city, all driver work with taximeters. However, in case of travelling to the countryside or others states, the fare can be discussed.

  • Pampulha - This 1940's neighborhood has some of the highlights of Brazil modern architecture, including the São Francisco de Assis Church. The building is not shocking by itself, until you realize it was meant to be a church. Not surprisingly, the Catholic Church refused to consecrate it for more than one decade. Next to the church, there's the Parque Guanabara, an amusement park that is small, but worth visiting. In Pampulha lies the world-famous Iate Tenis Clube, founded along with the Pampulha Architectural Complex designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Invitations to the club can be bought at the place (they are free if you know someone affiliated to the club).
  • Mangabeiras Park - This is an amazing place for nature lovers, a place where the Cerrado mixes with the Atlantic Forest, this is a great visit for children and family.
  • Praça da Liberdade - A beautiful palm tree-lined square, sidelined by interesting buildings from the 19th century, including the seat of the State Government, and a curvaceous (yes, you can use this word to describe an Oscar Niemeyer building) edifice from the 60s.
  • Museum of Arts and Crafts - Praça Rui Barbosa, Centro. (31) 3248-8600 ( Tue, Thu, Fri noon to 7pm. Wed, noon to 9pm. Sat, Sun, 11am to 5 pm. Groups: daily, from 9am-noon. The Museu de Artes e Ofícios is installed in the 19th Century buildings of the former Central Train Station. Its collection shows the richness of Brazilian popular work and professions before the country's industrialization. Admission: R$ 4. Saturday - free.
  • Alta Vila Tower - Located in the district of Nova Lima, (Belo Horizonte city Metro area), this tower offers a spectacular view of Belo Horizonte and its surrounding mountains. On the main floor is the Hard Rock Cafe - Belo Horizonte.
  • Parque Municipal -
    Greenery in Parque Municipal
    Greenery in Parque Municipal
    An oasis of green right in the centre of downtown. Based on French parks, it has small lagoons where you can rent a boat or feed the ducks. It has the Casa Maluca (Crazy House), the Casa dos Pneus and a small amusement park - three places where children always like to play.
  • Museu de Ciencias Naturais - Take the Metro to the Gameleira station, go NW to the PUC campus, and turn right. Diverse mollusks, whales, and Brazilian forest animals. A new exhibit is under construction. Admission: R$ 3.
  • Museu Histórico Abílio Barreto - Av Prudente de Morais, 135 - Cidade Jardim Neighborhood - (0xx)31 3342-1268‎ - This museum is dedicated to the history of the city and was created in the only standing farmhouse from the old Curral d'El Rey, farmland replaced by the new planned city.
  • BH Shopping. One of BH's oldest and biggest shopping centers, with shops, food, cinema and games. It's in Belvedere area and close to Nova Lima road.
  • Shopping Del Rey. Another of BH's oldest and biggest shopping centers, with shops, food, cinema and games.
  • Minas Shopping. Among the biggest shopping centers, with shops, food, cinema and games. Metrô station nearby.
  • Diamond Mall. A very refined (and usually expensive) shopping center.
  • Patio Savassi. Also very refined (and usually expensive) shopping center, in the heart of Savassi.
  • Mercado Central, Av. Augusto de Lima and R. Curitiba. Traditional market where you can find tofu, whole grains, cheese, meat, herbs, religious articles, fruit, live birds, pots, souvenirs and lots of other stuff. It's one the most visited places in the city.
  • Hippie Fair, Av. Afonso Pena in front of the Municipal Park. Opens every Sunday, from 8AM to 2PM. The fair is one of the biggest in the country and offers from crafts to jewelry, furniture to souvenir, clothing to food. Receives from 60,000 to 120,000 people every Sunday. Definitively worth the visit.
  • Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais [6]. Av. Antônio Carlos 6627, Pampulha.
  • Pontifícia Universidade Católica [7]. Four blocks northwest of the Gameleira station.
  • Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais [8].
  • Centro Universitário UNA [9].
  • Universidade FUMEC [10].
  • Universidade José do Rosário Vellano [11].
  • Centro Universitário Newton Paiva [12].
  • Centro Federal de Ensino Tecnológico de Minas Gerais - CEFET [13].
  • Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos [14]


For a good sample of traditional mineira food, here are some options:

  • Dona Lucinha II, Rua Sergipe, 811; (31) 3261-5930, Mon-Fri 12PM-3PM and 8PM-midnight. Sat 12PM-5PM and 8PM-midnight. Sun 12PM-5PM. R$ 19-27.
  • Restaurante Xapuri [15], Rua Mandacaru, 260 - Pampulha, near the Pampulha Lake and the City Zoo, the restaurant is open Tue-Thu from 11AM to 11PM, Fri-Sat from 11AM to 2 AM and Sunday and holidays from 11AM to 6PM. It has live music from Wed-Sun (and Holidays)

For great international food, here are some options:

  • Porcão [16], Avenida Raja Gabaglia, 2985, Cep:30350-540, Tel: (31) 3293-8604. One of the more infamous restaurants in BH is chain Porcão. Considered to have the best meat in BH is also one of the most expensive in town. Some nights there are live performances by some of the more well known performers in BH.
  • Hard Rock Cafe Belo Horizonte [17], Rua Senador Milton Campos - AltaVila Center Class - Tel: (31)3011-9511. Live music Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Apple Bee's Restaurant [18] - Located at BH Shopping, the restaurant has a casual feel with an American Menu.

If your food tastes lean toward brown rice and tofu, try Bem Natural. This is both a snack bar with tuna and chicken sandwiches on whole wheat, and a por quilo buffet with stuffed tomatoes, vegetarian feijoada, and brown rice. There are four locations in BH:

  • Av. Afonso Pena 941, Centro, (31) 3224-1385.
  • Augusto de Lima 1652, Barro Preto, (31) 3295-2325.
  • Bernardo Guimarães 166, Funcionários, (31) 3284-6680.
  • Tomé de Souza 947, Savassi, (31) 3261-5676, open weekends and holidays too.
  • People from BH are famous for their love of bars. The central Savassi neighborhood has dozens of bars. Also, at São Lucas neighborhood, on Contorno Avenue, you will find "Sociedad Pub", one of the best Pubs in town (Contorno Av., n.3849). Actually, the city is widely known (although without any confirmation) as the city with most bars per capita in the world. Some clubs that charge a cover are overrated and expensive. However, the outdoor bar scene is the authentic Brazilian experience.
  • You may know it only as an ingredient in vitamin pills, but here you can get fresh acerola puree in orange juice squeezed before your eyes. This is called a vitamina with good reason. The fruit is perishable and is stored on ice. Other fruits prepared the same way are abacaxi (pineapple), açaí, banana, and mamão (papaya).
  • Although Savassi is the place to go on Friday and Saturday nights, Trevo Five Place (close to the Hard Rock Cafe) is a great spot on Thursday nights. The dancing is great however the environment is not for the cautious.
  • The state of Minas Gerais is famous for their cachaça. The price stars from R$1,00 to R$50,00 and above, for some high-end brands. It is the main ingredient of the famous "Caipirinha" cocktail, but Brazilians enjoy drinking it pure as well.
  • Another great drink is a sweet tasting wine-like substance called pronounced "catuaba".
  • If your looking for some dancing and clubbing visit naSala [19]. For sure the best nightlife in town. Expect to meet beautiful people.


Major high-rise hotels are generally on Av. Afonso Pena or at Savassi neighborhood, while mid-range and budget accommodations are clustered around the train station.

  • Hostel O Sorriso do Lagarto http://www.BELOHORIZONTEHOSTELS.COM Cristina 791 Located in Savassi, this hostel has the best location near restaurants, bars, concert venues, shopping, cinemas, markets and more! They have WiFi, table games and common areas, are child-friendly and can help you find anything you want around the city.
  • Pousadinha Mineira [20], Rua Espirito Santo 604, Centro. Phone (31) 3273-8156 and (31) 3423-4105. Basic, clean beds in large dorms. Excellent security. Close to everything, right in the center. Dorms R$ 16.00 (w/o breakfast), R$ 20.00 (incl. breakfast).
  • Albergue da Juventude Chalé Mineiro [21], Rua Santa Luzia, 288 - Santa Efigênia (From Rodoviaria take bus 9801 (Saudade-Santa Cruz), at Rua dos Caetés, or the subway to the Santa Tereza station). (31) 3467-1576, This hostel is a member of Hostelling International and has a nice swimming pool for its guests. Prices from R$ 15.
  • Hotel São Bento [22], Rua Guarani, 438 - Centro (Located within walking distance of Mercado Central, Parque Municipal and Minascentro Exhibition Centre). (31) 3025-3399. Highlighted in the French guide "Le Guide du Routard" as the best cost-benefit in town in its category. Prices from R$46.
  • Normandy Hotel, Rua dos Tamóios, 212 - City Centre (Located in the heart of Belo Horizonte, close to the commercial and financial center.), (31) 3201-6166, [23]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. The Normandy Hotel highlight is its great location, right at the cultural, commercial and financial hub of Belo Horizonte, making it a good option for travellers looking for commodity and agility when staying in town. Prices from R$ 119.  edit
  • Le Flamboyant [24] - Rua Rio Grande do Norte, 1007. Phone (31) 3261-5233 (fax (31) 3261-7370). Good value for money. The 80s décor may be a little out of date, but the flats are spacious and there is a swimming pool for guests. Besides, location is excellent: right in the middle of the lively Savassi neighborhood. Singles/doubles R$ 100-120.

Stay healthy

Drink the acerola. You won't miss your vitamin pills.

Try Açaí for a boost of energy.

Drink bottled water, or water from drinking fountains, usually located at malls.

Stay safe

When crossing the street, watch for motorcycles, which can appear out of nowhere and sometimes ignore stop signs. At some intersections with divided streets, you can cross only one side at once.

Minas has both the military police (polícia militar) who are the enforcers of the law at street level, however not linked to the Brazilian Military and the civilian police (polícia civil) who conduct further investigations like the British CID. Note, though, that most officers don't even have a knowledge of basic English (or any other language). The uniform of the Minas Gerais state military police is brown.

The emergency number (by which you can reach the military police) is 190.

The emergency number of SAMU (the acronym for the health emergency service) is 192.

The city has its own police, the Municipal Guard, the uniform is blue and officers are found in parks, near monuments, schools, hospitals.

The city has seen a recent surge on crime related to drugs. It is wise to avoid walking alone at night or carrying expensive electronics such cameras, notebooks, iPods or jewelry. Be discrete. It is not uncommon to be mugged at traffic lights or walking during the day or night, even in the good areas. Due to the Brazilian huge diversity and mix of races, tourists are not easily ID'd by bad guys. However, people from european descend such as Scandinavians are not commonly seen and could be an easy target.

If someone mugs you, don't react. Your life is worth more than a hundred dollars.

  • MP Games, Rua dos Inconfidentes 868, between Pernambuco and Paraíba, Savassi. You can bring your laptop. 3 R$/h.

There are many LAN Houses and Cyber Cafés throughout the city, even inside Shopping Malls, so checking your e-mails or browsing the internet won't be a problem. Rates go from R$2 to R$5 per hour.

By phone

The area code for Belo Horizonte is 31. The code for Telemar, the phone company that runs most of the phone booths in the city, is also 31. So to call Belo from outside using Telemar, you dial 031 31 and the desired number, for example: from Sao Paulo to Belo, dial 03131 xxxx-xxxx. But to make a local call, you don't have to dial 31 at all, just the eight digits. Sometimes, it depends, because there are many other cities surrounding Belo, with the same area code, so you might be dialling the long distance code, using 31. Dialing from or to Ouro Preto, to or from Belo, you need to dial 03131 xxxx-xxxx. There are other long distance companies codes available, which can be used to make calls, such as Embratel (21), Intelig (23), which provides long distance calls with suitable rates, to or from Brazil, and to other countries.

Get out

Belo Horizonte is an entryway to many of the the country's most important colonial towns:

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Belo Horizonte

  1. State capital of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Simple English


Belo Horizonte is a Brazilian city, capital of the state of Minas Gerais. It has, approximately, 2.4 million inhabitants and an area of 330.9 km². It is the third largest metropolitan area in the country.

=Colleges and Universities


  • Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG);
  • Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais (UEMG);
  • Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (PUC-MG);
  • Universidade José do Rosário Vellano (UNIFENAS);
  • Centro Universitário Newton Paiva;
  • Universidade Salgado de Oliveira (UNIVERSO);
  • and many others.

Culture and Architecture

Sister Cities

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