Category Archives: UNESCO Brasil



Many of the numerous rock shelters in the Serra da Capivara National 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.

Established in 1979, the Serra da Capivara National Park stretched across the municipalities of São Raimundo Nonato, São João do Piauí, and Canto do Buriti in the south-eastern section of Piauí state in Brazil’s Northeast Region. In 1994, the municipality of Brejo do Piauí and, in 1995 the municipality of João Costa were dismembered   of São João do Piauí. The municipality of Coronel José Dias was dismembered of São Raimundo Nonato in 1992. These three municipalities, plus São Raimundo Nonato, are partially located in the area of the Serra da Capivara National Park.

The Park covers nearly 129, 140 hectares and has a circumference of 214 kilometres. It is situated in the morphoclimatic zone of the Brazilian Caatinga, distinguished by the multiplicity of plant formations typical of the semi-arid regions of Northeast Brazil. The region’s plant species are primarily characterized by the loss of most of their leaves during the dry season, extending from May to December, serving to lend the landscape its silver hue. The region borders two major geological formations – the Maranhão-Piauí sediment basin and the peripheral depression of the São Francisco River – and is endowed with a diversity of relief vegetation and landscapes of breathtaking beauty and dotted with exceptional vistas of the surrounding valleys, mountains, and plains.

The area houses one of the most important archaeological sites in the Americas containing evidence and artefacts that have forced a sweeping re-evaluation of the fundamental traditional theories underpinning the origins of human settlement in the Americas.

Over 300 archaeological sites have been found within the park, the majority consisting of rock and wall paintings dating from 50,000-30,000 years Before Present. Many of the numerous rock shelters in the Serra da Capivara National Park are decorated with rock paintings, some more than 25,000 years old. The analyses and dating of the evidence and artefacts found in the Serra da Capivara National Park serve to confirm the millennial presence of human beings on the American continent and the importance of the heritage. The ensemble of archaeological sites contains dating evidence that has thoroughly revolutionized classical theories regarding the entry route into the Americas by human populations along the Bering Strait. According to studies, the area encompassing the Serra da Capivara National Park was occupied by hunters and gatherers, followed by ceramic-farming societies. Discoveries at the Boqueirão da Pedra Furada archaeological site suggest that human beings may have settled the region as far back as 50,000 years ago, while the oldest remaining archaeological site with surviving rock  art dates back 10,530 years Before Present. In the light of these new findings, the region represents one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world and the property is an outstanding testimony to one of the oldest human communities of South America

Brasil – UNESCO WHS – Pantanal Conservation area

The Pantanal Conservation Complex consists of a cluster of four protected areas located in western central Brazil on the border with Bolivia and Paraguay. The site is part of the Pantanal region, one of the world’s largest freshwater wetland ecosystems.

The Pantanal is an immense alluvial plain.. Its landscape encompasses a variety of ecological subregions, including river corridors, gallery forests, perennial wetlands and lakes, seasonally inundated grasslands and terrestrial forests.

Surrounded by mountain ridges and plains, the region presents a flat landscape with a small inclination which follows a north-south, east-west direction.

The main source of water for the Pantanal is the Cuiaba River. The water spreads and covers broad expanses, seeking a natural outlet, which will only be found hundreds of kilometres downstream, at the confluence of the river and the Atlantic, beyond the Brazilian territory. Hydrological studies indicate the presence of a network of underground streams and a degree of subsurface water movement.

The vegetation is located in an area of transition between the dry savannah (cerrado) of central Brazil and the semi-deciduous forest of the south and south-east. The diversity of interacting habitat types produces a remarkable plant diversity.

The fauna of the Pantanal is extremely diverse and includes 80 species of mammal, 650 bird, 50 reptile and 400 fish. Dense populations of species of conservation concern such as jaguar, marsh deer, giant anteater and giant otter live in the region.

The Pantanal is a sanctuary for birds with many species occurring in large numbers. It is one of the most important breeding grounds for typical wetland birds such as Jabiru stork, as well as several other species of heron, ibis and duck, which are found in enormous flocks. Parrots are also very diverse, with 26 species recorded in the area including the hyacinth macaw, the world’s largest parrot. A large proportion of the remnant wild population of this species, estimated at about 3,000 birds, inhabit the region. Habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade are two factors that, in combination, have led to the risk of extinction.


Brasil – Iguacu National Park

Created by federal decree nr. 1035 of January 10, 1939, the Park comprises a total area of 185,262.5 hectares and a length of about 420km, 300km of which are natural borders by bodies of water and the Brazilian and Argentinean sides together comprise around 225 thousand hectares.
On November 17, 1986, during the UNESCO conference held in Paris, the Iguaçú National Park was listed as Natural Heritage of Humanity and is one of the largest forest preservation areas in South America.

The Iguaçú National Park owes its name to the fact it includes an important area of the Iguaçú river, approximately 50km of the length of the river and the world famous Iguaçú Falls.

It is the most important park of the Prata Basin and, since it is a haven to a significant genetic asset of animal and vegetal species, it was the first park in Brazil to receive a Management Plan.

The Iguaçú National Park is spectacular as well as pioneering. The first proposal for a Brazilian national park aimed at providing a pristine environment to “future generations”, just as “it had been created by God” and endowed with “all possible preservation, from the beautiful to the sublime, from the picturesque to the awesome” and “an unmatched flora” located in the “magnificent Iguaçú waterfalls”. These were the words used by Andre Rebouças, an engineer, in his book “Provinces of Paraná, Railways to Mato Grosso and Bolivia”, which started up the campaign aimed at preserving the Iguaçú Falls way back in 1876, when Yellowstone, the first national park on the planet, was four years old.



Brasil – UNESCO WHS – Ouro Preto

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.


Located 513 km north of Rio de Janeiro, Ouro Preto (Black Gold) was the main focal point of the period known as the Golden Age of Brazil. Originally called Vila Rica, this city played a leading role in Brazil’s history in the 18th century. It was created by thousands of soldiers of fortune eager to enrich themselves by exploiting the gold deposits; they were followed by many artists who came to settle and produce works of outstanding quality, such as the São Francisco of Assis church by Antonio Francisco Lisboa (Aleijadinho).

Ouro Preto, the old capital of Minas Gerais, owes its origins to the discovery and exploitation of the gold. The creation in 1698 of the Capitania de São Paulo e Minas do Ouro resulted in the earlier mining settlements being transformed into villas (small towns), the second of which was Vila Rica, in 1712. Minas Gerais became an independent Capitania in 1720, with Vila Rica as its capital. The growth of the town was rapid as a result of the rich mineral resources, and it developed its own urban features characteristic of a mining town. In the closing years of the 18th century it became a centre of the movement for the emancipation of Brazil from colonial rule known as Inconfidência Mineira. A rapid decline in mineral resources and mining resulted in a deterioration in the economy of this part of the province. In 1823 its status was changed to that of an imperial town, with the new name of Ouro Preto and this attracted a number of higher education establishments, but with the transfer of the provincial capital in 1897 to Belo Horizonte the fortunes of Ouro Preto declined again. Since the 1930s it has been principally a tourist centre.

The town was shaped by the grouping together of small settlements (arriais) in a hilly landscape, where the houses, mostly single- or two-storeyed, seem to support one another, forming an irregular urban layout that follows the contours of the landscape. However, the resources derived from mining, coupled with the talents of artists such as Aleijadinho and others, some outstanding architectural and artistic masterpieces are to be found. A ‘Mining Baroque’ style developed in the second half of the 18th century which successfully fused Brazilian influences with European Baroque and Rococo.

The Church of Saõ Francisco de Assis is considered to be a masterpiece of Brazilian architecture. Ouro Preto also boasts a number of other fine churches and secular buildings such as the churches of Our Lady of the Pillar, the Rosário dos Homens Pretos, the Virgin of the Conceição, and the Virgin of Carmel, the House of the Baroness, the chafarizes of the High Da Cruz and Alto of the Heads.

Tiradentes Square is the main point from which all the roads diverge. Around it are situated imposing public and private buildings, such as the old Parliament House (1784), today the Museum of the Inconfidência, and the Palace of the Governors, which has become the School of Mines and Metallurgy.

The townscape of Ouro Preto is also noteworthy for its bridges and fountains, all blending into an urban and natural setting of great beauty.


Brasil – Cathedral of Brasilia

The Cathedral of Brasília (Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida) is the Roman Catholic cathedral serving Brasília, Brazil, and serves as the seat of the Archdiocese of Brasília. It was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, and was completed and dedicated on May 31, 1970. The cathedral is a hyperboloid structure constructed from 16 concrete columns, weighing 90 tons each.

The exterior of the cathedral resembles the circular plan and ribbed structure of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, but the latter is clad in solid material, while the Cathedral of Brasília allows light in and out for almost the full height of the ribs.