After Rains and Landslide, Historic Buildings in Ouro Preto Are at Risk

Heritage such as mansions and churches suffer wear and tear and need restoration

Wooden stilts hold up what remains of the facade of the historic Vira Saia mansion, in Ouro Preto, in the central region of Minas Gerais. Most of the roof and walls of the 18th-century building came down in the heavy rains that hit the state in January.

Whoever arrives at the place today finds ruins of the house that once belonged to Antônio Francisco Alves, the "Vira Saia." A plaque on the building's structure explains that he was the leader of the group that intercepted troops transporting gold from Minas to Rio de Janeiro.

OURO PRETO,MG – 14/4/2022 –Mansion Vira Saia (FOTO: Ane Souz/Folhapress). - Folhapress

What's left of the mansion's walls has cracks. The paintwork, which was once white, is now peeling. Blue tarpaulins placed on top of the structure try to protect the building from further damage.

According to the Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage, the municipal government expropriated the property in early January 2022, when shoring and cleaning services began.

Also, in January, another historic mansion collapsed after a landslide in the historic center of the city. The Baeta Neves manor was built at the end of the 19th century, close to the train station. In addition to Baeta and Vira Saia, at least one more mansion and two historic churches are also in a critical situation in the city.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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