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“Worth the trip to Congonhas”

Bom Jesus do Congonhas
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Congonhas City Tour
Ranked #2 of 17 things to do in Congonhas
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Built in the 18th century, the church is renowned for its rococo interior.
Reviewed 24 September 2013

We visited the Bom Jesus do Congonhas from Ouro preto and we definitely found it worth the trip. We arranged a taxi (taking the bus is not really practical) from Ouro Preto, the trip takes about 1h20 minutes. You can visit the church in about 1-1.5h.

The church is well maintained and, wether you are a fan of the style or not, 'The Passion' is an excellent example of Brazilian baroque art. The fact that Aleijadinho, the sculpter, lost his hands and had to rely on his (slave) apprentices makes it all the more impressive.
The soap stone saints outside the church further exemplify the genius of Aleijadinho.

The church itself is again a nice example of the art at the time. No photographing allowed inside.

Make sure you don't miss the small building on the left of the church. It contains hundreds of ex-votos or gratitude letters when a certain wish or miracle came true. Some of them date back to the eighteen hundreds. Most of these ex-votos are from people who fell ill and recovered when all hope was lost; people that miraculously survived accidents; barren women that still got pregnant; etc... . It helps to have a Portuguese speaking friend with you to translate some of these ex-votos.

1  Thank Ellen_and_Pedro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 March 2013

The scultures of Aleijadinho are extraordinary... particularly if you consider that because of an illness he no longer had hands and feet. It was a long trip but definitely worth it!! A must if you are in Minas!!

1  Thank F1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2013

Visiting the church of Bom Jesus in Congonhas in an exceptional experience. The various chapels leading to the church contain wonderful sculpture scenes of the Passion by Aleijadinho. Rightfully UNESCO world heritage and not to be missed from any Minas Gereis visit.

We took the taxi from the Congonhas rodoviaria. Getting a taxi back was not straightforward (eventually we convinced the restaurant next door call one). In total we took four hours for the visit (including taxi drives and lunch), which was a bit much. Two hours is however probably too short.

Some information on getting to Congonhas and traveling in Minas. We took the 8am bus from Sao Joao del Rei (Sandra bus company; direction Belo Horizonte), which arrived in Congonhas around 10am. At 2pm, we took a local bus from Congonhas to Ouro Branco (40 min) from where there was a connection at 3pm to Ouro Preto. The bus service is not regular at all but they are very comfortable and drive on time. In short, it is the easiest to get to/from Congonhas from Sao Joao and Belo Horizonte, but the connection to Ouro Preto is quite possible.

3  Thank b12346
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2012

The sculptures are wonderful works of art that reflects the excellent skill of the artist. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon so we could only see the outdoors scultures. The ones housed inside were visible only through the bars of the doors.We were backpacking in Minas so we were in need of a toilet which was no where to be found.

3  Thank Peter L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 December 2011

Congonhas is a little town between Belo Horizonte and Conselheiro Lafaite, on the road from Rio to Belo. There is little to recommend a stop in Congonhas other than the church at the top of the hill. The town itself is typical of the area-- small and dusty-- but the walk up to the church is very interesting. The cobblestone walkway up the hill is lined on both sides by small, plaster "temples", each dedicated to a saint and all whitewashed. At the top of the hill is the church, which is built of native stone. At the entrance, and around the little entry patio, there are small, carved stone men. The story is (I can't vouch for its accuracy) that these carvings were done by a small man who was somehow misshapen, and blind, and that he used his own body as a model for the statues, all of which are also oddly shaped, with outsized hands and heads and small bodies, like statues of Snow White's seven little pals. Inside the church is dark and cool. At the back, just inside the door, is a bulletin board with thank you notes from parishioners who have had prayers answered. At the front is a glass "casket" with a statue of Jesus, which is apparently based on someone's idea of what he looked like after scourging, after crucifixion, and before resurrection. He's skinny and bloody and scratched by thorns and perforated hands and feet and torso-- this is NOT the blond and handsome Jesus of America. This is a Jesus who has suffered. All in all, this place is well worth the visit if you are in the area. It's also a World Heritage Site.

2  Thank Soggiorno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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