Have you ever been to a mine?

Minas Gerais. Mines. The reason why there’s people here in this city and in this state. The reason why Brazil isn’t a part of Portugal anymore. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts from Minas Gerais, here’s where the independence movement started. The people here saw all the money that went straight to the Portuguese crown and decided they wanted that money for themselves. The Inconfidentes.

So yesterday we went to a mine which is situated between Ouro Preto and the neighbouring city of Mariana. The small town is called Passagem de Mariana and the mine there is bigger and better for visits than the other mines around here. Some people from our pousada were going there as well, so they gave us a ride as they had a car. First we had to buy our tickets in an old house close to the parking lot before we could continue to the entrance of the mine. The area was really nice and they even had a small museum there. There were also some old instruments used in mining on the lawn when you walked towards the entrance.

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When we got to the entrance we got a guide and then we took an old wooden carriage down to the mine. It was almost like a small rollercoaster, at least for a pussy like me, haha! In the mine the temperature is between 17 and 22 degrees celsius all year around, so it was quite cold for us now that we’re used to the warm weather in Minas Gerais with lots of sun and around 30 degrees almost all the time. The mine was also very humid, so I guess that makes it feel even colder? Anyway, we walked around in the mine following the guide. He told us a lot about the history of mining in Brazil and in Minas Gerais and it was very interesting. His dad used to work in that exact mine, so he knew what he was talking about. He gave us some really eye-opening facts, like that the African slaves that were imported were actually selected according to their knowledge in mining (or other areas if they weren’t going to work in the mines). In countries like Congo and the Ivory Coast they had had mines for a while back then and men working there were brought here to work in the Brazilian mines. He also told us that women weren’t allowed to enter the mines because they were scared the power of her presence could make it break down or something. It was all superstition, but back then such things were serious. The part of the mine that we visited had a small lake, but there was no life in it because there’s absolutely nothing down there. I mean, there’s stone, minerals and water. Here are some of my photos:

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The machine they used to make the carriage go in/down and out/up of the mine

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Inside the mine. It was really big! No claustrophobia, haha.

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The thick «pillars» of stone are necessary to keep the mine’s roof from falling down, according to our amazing guide.

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The small lake inside the mine.

When we got out of the mine we went to the small museum next to the entrance. They had some instruments that they used to use in mining many, many years ago and then they had this carriage that we weren’t sure if it was carried by slaves or animals…

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So, this was my boyfriend’s first time to a mine, but I had been to at least one before. We both thought it was great as all mines are so different and the other one I had been to was in Norway. The guide was amazing and had so much information and fun facts to share, so if you’re ever in Ouro Preto, go the extra mile and take the bus/taxi/car to Mina da Passagem. You will not regret it!

Today it has been raining a lot, but we still got to go to the places that we hadn’t seen yet and that we wanted to visit before leaving tomorrow. I will write about today in another post. My boyfriend is taking a nap and I’m hungry as usual, so maybe we should head out for dinner soon. I’ll probably update you guys tomorrow or on Thursday 🙂

– Guro

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