"The City of Aleijadinho" Congonhas by NedHopkins

Congonhas Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 29 photos

Fabulous Art

This page might better be titled 'Another City of Aleijadinho.' Most of the well-known 'historical cities' of Minas Gerais have works by 'the Little Cripple;' and his finest architectural achievements are in Ouro Preto and Sao Joao del Rey.

But Congonhas, an otherwise dismal industrial city, is dominated by the Sanctuario do Bom Jesus with Aleijadinho's 12 soapstone prophets and dozens of wooden sculptures (all painted, most by his friend Manoel Costa da Athayde.

The prophets stand in front of the church itself. The wooden figures are in six chapels flanking the approach to the church; each chapel represents a station of the cross (with the final station, the crucifixion, inside the church).

The prophets and the scenes are climax of Aleijadinho's life's work, achieved when he was so crippled he had to work with chisels and other tools bound to his arms. They would be astonishing even if they'd been done by a man in perfect health. As it is, they are a miracle of human perserverance -- and genius.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The Sanctuary and the work of Aleijadinho
  • Cons:Nothing else in the city much worth seeing
  • In a nutshell:Worth a detour, as the Guide MIchelin would say
  • Last visit to Congonhas: May 1998
  • Intro Updated Dec 13, 2003
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Reviews (10)

Comments (3)

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Sep 22, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    great page, i am hoping to visit minas gerais some time this coming winter.

  • OlivierB's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2008 at 4:38 PM

    thanks for that. I just came back from Minas G and Congonhas was really one of the best sites for what you describe !

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Jul 23, 2004 at 1:33 AM

    excellent page, Congonhas deserves being on VT

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