Travel & Places Latin America

Ouro Prêto - Praça de Tiradentes

The praça , or plaza, is the the center of town, and named for Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, the dentist or tooth puller (Tiradentes) turned revolutionary hero who led the first organized movememt against the Portuguese. In the middle of the praça, a statue honors his memory.

When Portuguese officials attempted to collect back taxes when the gold that had made Minas Gerais state wealthy and powerful was petering out, Tiradentes organized a protest, and for his efforts, was jailed and executed on April 21, 1792.

Tiradentes's tomb is in the Museu da Inconfidência along with torture instruemnts and documents.

Today Tiradentes is revered as a national hero and his statue graces many public plazas and parks.

The Praça de Tiradentes is the place to start your tour of the city. Pick up a map and guide from the tourist office there and plot out your visits to the many churches and museums. Be aware though, that many are closed on Monday.

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