Brazil & UNESCO
Brazil & UNESCO  presents  presents

Bom Jesus do Congonhas
Cerrado Region
Discovery Coast
Fernando de Noronha
Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis
Iguaçu Falls
Ouro Preto
Salvador da Bahia
São Luis
Serra da Capivara
São Paulo Atlantic Coast


Find sixteen (16) World Heritage sites in Brazil, amazing environments in the interior like the Amazon, Cerrado Region, Iguaçu Falls, the Pantanal; extraordinary surviving achievement from the past like the historic cities of Ouro Preto, Olinda, Diamantina, Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis; Salvador da Bahia, & São Luis; the prehistoric past like Serra da Capivara; as well areas of the coast exceptionally still close to their majestic original selves Discovery Coast , São Paulo Atlantic Coast; and finally the island archipelago Fernando de Noronha

"....a different and wonderful province, where the magic outdoes any other reality, mingling itself with everyday life up to a degree unknown in other places."
 Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis

Historic Town of Ouro Preto

In 1980, Ouro Preto was named Brazil's first World Heritage Site by UNESCO

Founded at the end of the 17th century, Ouro Preto (Black Gold) was the focal point of the gold rush and Brazil's golden age in the 18th century. With the exhaustion of the gold mines in the 19th century, the city's influence declined but many churches, bridges and fountains remain as a testimony to its past prosperity and the exceptional talent of the Baroque sculptor Aleijadinho.

Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda

Pernambuco (1982)

Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, the town's history is linked to the sugar-cane industry. Rebuilt after being looted by the Dutch, its basic urban fabric dates from the 18th century. The harmonious balance between the buildings, gardens, 20 Baroque churches, conventsHistoric Centre of the Town of Olinda and numerous small passos (chapels) all contribute to Olinda's particular charm. 
Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis:
  • San Ignacio Mini,
  • Santa Ana,
  • Nuestra Señora de Loreto
  • Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina)
  • Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil)

Rio Grande do Sul & Argentina (1983 , 1984)

The ruins of São Miguel das Missões in Brazil, and those of San Ignacio Miní, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa María la Mayor in Argentina, lie at the heart of a tropical forest. They are the impressive remains of five Jesuit missions, built in the land of the Guaranis during the 17th and 18th centuries. Each is characterized by a specific layout and a different state of conservation.

The Guaraní are best known for their connection to the early Jesuit missions of Paraguay, the most notable mission foundation ever established in the Americas, and for their later heroic provocation of a major expansionist war as the State of Paraguay, against the combined powers of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay — until practically all their able-bodied men had been exterminated.

They lived in palisaded villages of communal houses, of ten to fifteen families. There was no central government: the village communities were united only by common interest and language, and tended to form tribal groups by dialect. They numbered at least 400,000 people when they were first encountered by Europeans. They were sedentary and agricultural, subsisting largely on manioc (the root from which tapioca is made), maize, game, and wild honey. They were expert and artistic at pottery and woodcarving. Theiy used bows and the blowguns as weapons.

Historic Centre of
Salvador de Bahia

(1985 )

As the first capital of Brazil, from 1549 to 1763, Salvador de Bahia witnessed the blending of European, African and Amerindian cultures. It was also, from 1558, the first slave market in the New World, with slaves arriving to work on the sugar plantations. The city has managed to preserve many outstanding Renaissance buildings. A special feature of the old town are the brightly coloured houses, often decorated with fine stucco-work.

Sanctuary of
Bom Jesus do Congonhas

 State of Minas Gerais, City of Congohas (1985)

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasThis sanctuary in Minais Gerais, south of Belo Horizonte was built in the second half of the 18th century. It consists of a church with a magnificent Rococo interior of Italian inspiration; an outdoor stairway decorated with statues of the prophets; and seven chapels illustrating the Stations of the Cross, in which the polychrome sculptures by Aleijadinho are masterpieces of a highly original, moving, expressive form of Baroque art.

National Park

Paraná State (1986 )  

The park shares with Iguazú National Park in Argentina one of the world's largest and most impressive waterfalls, extending over some 2,700 m. It is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, among them the giant otter and the giant anteater. The clouds of spray produced by the waterfall are conducive to the growth of lush vegetation.

The waterfall system consists of almost 300 falls, with heights of up to 70 meters, along 2.7 kilometres of the Iguassu River. The Garganta del Diablo ("Devil's Throat"), a U shaped 150 meters wide and 700 meters long cliff, is the most impressive of them all, and marks the border between Argentina and Brazil. Most of the falls are within Argentine territory, but from the Brazilian side (600 meters) a more panoramic view of the Garganta del Diable is obtained.

The Falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil). These parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1986 respectively.


Brasilia (1987 ) Federal District
 Brasilia, a capital created ex nihilo in the centre of the country in 1956, was a landmark in the history of town planning. Urban planner Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer intended that every element – from the layout of the residential and administrative districts (often compared to the shape of a bird in flight) to the symmetry of the buildings themselves – should be in harmony with the city's overall design. The official buildings, in particular, are innovative and imaginative.

Serra da Capivara National Park

Sud-est de Etat du Piaui –
 Communes de Sao Raimundo Nonato, Sao Joao do Piaui et Canto do Butriti

MMany of the numerous rock shelters in the Serra da Capivara NationalSerra da Capivara National Park Park are decorated with cave paintings, some more than 25,000 years old. They are an outstanding testimony to one of the oldest human communities of South America. The cave pictures and the objects found can be seen at some of the sites open for visitation, among the 744 existing sites in the Park. Today, Serra da Capivara National park is administered by FUMDHAM – Museum of the American Man Foundation, a private center, in partnership with IBAMA – Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. It offers an excellent structure for visitation, with delimited trails and specialized guides. The American Man Museum is located in the city of São Raimundo Nonato, a few kilometers from there.

GETTING THERE: By Highway: Take BR-343 to the city of Floriano, then PI-140 to São Raimundo Nonato. Another option for those coming from the South of the country is through Petrolina/PE, which is 300 km from São Raimundo Nonato.
By Bus: o Petrolina, Pernambuco (airport code: PNZ) Then take a bus to São Raimundo Nonato, in the state of Piauí. From there it is a six hour ride to São Raimundo Nonato in Piauí.
By Air. There is a landing strip in São Raimundo Nonato that can only receive small planes. The distance from São Raimundo Nonato to the Park is 20 km. Petrolina’s airport, 270 km from the Park, receives regular flights from many cities in Brazil

Historic Centre of
São Luis

(1997 )

TThe late 17th-century core of this historic town, founded by the FrenchHistoric Centre of São Luis and occupied by the Dutch before coming under Portuguese rule, has preserved the original rectangular street plan in its entirety. Thanks to a period of economic stagnation in the early 20th century, an exceptional number of fine historic buildings have survived, making this an outstanding example of an Iberian colonial town.  

Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina  

 State of Minas Gerais (1999 )

DDiamantina, a colonial village set like a jewel in a necklace of inhospitable rocky mountains, recalls the exploits of diamond prospectors in the 18th century and testifies to the triumph of human cultural and artistic endeavour over the environment. The urban and architectural group of Diamantina, perfectlyHistoric Centre of the Town of Diamantina integrated into a wild landscape, is a fine example of an adventurous spirit combined with a quest for refinement

Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves Bahia

The Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves, in the states of Bahia and Espírito Santo, consist of eight separate protected areas containing 112,000 ha of Atlantic forest and associated shrub (restingas). The rainforests of Brazil's Atlantic coastDiscovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves are the world's richest in terms of biodiversity. The site contains a distinct range of species with a high level of endemism and reveals a pattern of evolution that is not only of great scientific interest but is also of importance for conservation.

The rainforests of southern Bahia and northern Espirito Santo States (Discovery Coast) are considered as the world's richest in terms of the number of species of trees per hectare. A recent study of CEPLAC and the New York Botanic Garden found 458 different species of trees in one hectare of forest in Bahia. Other surveys identified 476 species/ha in northern Espirito Santo (Thomaz and Monteiro, 1997). Until 300m, the principle vegetation type is highly diverse primary tropical moist broadleaf forest with tall (20-30m in height) canopy trees. The area contains perhaps the largest number of trees of Pau Brasil Caesalpinia equinata (VU) left on earth

Some of the most outstanding features are the historic centres of Porto Seguro, Vale Verde, Trancoso and Santa Cruz Cabrália. Numerous archaeological sites, both prehistoric and historic, can be found in the area. The ruins of Brazil's first church lay at the top of a cliff to the north of Porto Seguro. An old Tupi civilisation town has recently been unearthed.

There is a population of Pataxó people living in separate indigenous territories, such as Barra Velha (814 inhabitants), Boca da Mata (349), Imbiriba (137), Coroa Vermelha (1,202), Mata Medonha (142), Aguas Belas (65), Corumbauzinho (55) and Trevo do Parque (91). The Pataxó are survivors from the different indigenous cultures that lived in the region

Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves

Atlantic coast, states of
Parana and
São Paulo
(1999 )

 The Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves, in the states of Paraná and São Paulo, contain some of the best and most extensive examples of Atlantic forest in Brazil. The 25 protected areas that make up the site (some 470,000 ha in total) display the biological wealth and evolutionary history of the last remaining Atlantic forests. From mountains covered by dense forests, down to wetlands, coastal islands with isolated mountains and dunes, the area comprises a rich natural environment of great scenic beauty.

Central Amazon Conservation Complex

 State of Amazonas  (2000 , 2003 ) 

The Central Amazon Conservation Complex makes up the largestCentral Amazon Conservation Complex  protected area in the Amazon Basin (over 6 million hectares) and is one of the planet’s richest regions in terms of biodiversity. It also includes an important sample of varzea/i> ecosystems, igapó forests, lakes and channels which take the form of a constantly evolving aquatic mosaic that is home to the largest array of electric fish in the world. The site protects key threatened species, including giant arapaima fish, the Amazonian manatee, the black caiman and two species of river dolphin

Central Amazon Conservation Complex by

Pantanal Conservation Area

Southwest of the State of Mato Grosso and Northwest of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, adjacent to the Brazil/Bolivian borders (2000)

The Pantanal Conservation Complex consists of a cluster of four protected areas with a total area of 187,818 ha. Located in western central Brazil at the south-west corner of the State of Mato Grosso, the site represents 1.3% of Brazil's Pantanal region, one of the world's largest freshwater wetland ecosystems. The headwaters of the region's two major river systems, the Cuiabá and the Paraguay rivers, are located here, and the abundance and diversity of its vegetation and animal life are spectacular. The area is a refuge for fauna as it is the only area of the Pantanal that remains partially inundated during the dry season.

Pantanal Conservation Area by

Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves

Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte States (2001 )

 Peaks of the Southern Atlantic submarine ridge form the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and Rocas Atoll off the coast of Brazil. They represent a large proportion of the island surface of the South Atlantic and their rich waters are extremely important for the breeding and feeding of tuna, shark, turtle and marine mammals. The islands are home to the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the Western Atlantic. Baia de Golfinhos has an exceptional population of resident dolphin and at low tide the Rocas Atoll provides a spectacular seascape of lagoons and tidal pools teeming with fish. The site accommodates the largest concentration of tropical seabirds to be found in the Western Atlantic Ocean,

Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks

Central Brazil Plateau, State of Goiás (2001)

 Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks
The two sites included in the designation contain flora and fauna and key habitats that characterize the Cerrado – one of the world's oldest and most diverse tropical ecosystems. For millennia, these sites have served as  refuge for several species during periods of climate change and will be vital for maintaining the biodiversity of the Cerrado region during future climate fluctuations. /span>

The Cerrado covers an area of 1,916,900 km² (740,100 square miles), including the state of Goiás and the Federal District, most of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Tocantins, the western portions of Minas Gerais and Bahia, the southern portion of Maranhão and Piauí, small portions of São Paulo and Paraná, and extends into northeastern Paraguay and eastern Bolivia. The Cerrado accounts for 22% of Brazil's area, an area the size of Alaska.

The cerrado is characterised by an enormous range of plant and animal biodiversity, but these natural riches are increasingly threatened by single-crop plantations (monoculture; particularly soybeans), the expansion of agriculture in general, and coal mining.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug has described the cerrado as one of Earth's last remaining arable frontiers for the expansion of agriculture.


Historic Centre of the Town of


Goiás is a testament to the occupation and colonization of the lands of central Brazil in the 18th and 19th centuries. The urban layout is an example of the organic development of a mining town, adapted to the conditions of the site. Although modest, both public and private architecture form a harmonious whole, thanks to the coherent use of local materials and vernacular techniques.

List is current through  July 2004. 788 properties are now inscribed on the World Heritage List with 611 cultural, 154 natural and 23 mixed properties in 134 Countries. TThrough the World Heritage PACT (Partners for Conservation), UNESCO endeavours to encourage, develop and strengthen cooperative efforts with civil society in order to help ensure long-term conservation of heritage and accomplish our mission to safeguard heritage."

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