This week’s featured World Heritage Site is a gorgeous church built in the Rococo style. The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos is located in the city of Minais Gerais, an old prospector’s town. During the 18th century, more than 30,000 people moved here hoping to make their fortune. The church was built to serve them. At least according to legend, the striking interior is the masterpiece of crippled sculptor Aleijadinho.
Aleijadinho was the son of a Portuguese carpenter and his slave. Immensely talented, he unfortunately fell prey to leprosy or a similar illness as a young man. The name “Aleijadinho” is a nickname that means “the little cripple.” However, his disease didn’t stop him from sculpting. He carved the statues inside the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos with chisels strapped to what remained of his hands. Why did they have to strap his chisels to his hands, you ask? Because his fingers had fallen off and all that was left was two bloody stumps. Beat that, Michelangelo!
The ultimate irony (cue Alanis Morrissette) is that according to UNESCO, the church was inspired by “the wish of a Portuguese immigrant who had been miraculously cured of a crippling infirmity.”
The legend of Aleijadinho may or may not be true – some scholars have questioned the truthfulness of the tale. Either way, it’s a cool story and the sculptures are breathtaking, so the church is well worth checking out. It was made a World Heritage Site in 1985.
To visit Brazil and see the church, you’ll need a Brazilian visa. Brazil’s visa system is “jurisdictional”, so each Brazilian embassy only handles visa applications from a specific region of the US. The first thing you’ll need to do is to determine which embassy you need to apply at. Once you know that, here’s a rundown of what you’ll need to get a Brazilian visa to visit as a tourist:
- Your passport. Check the expiration date in the back, as your expiration date must be at least 6 months into the future for you to get a Brazilian visa. You’ll also need 2 or more blank pages in the back.
- One Brazilian visa application
- 2 passport-sized photos
- A copy of your itinerary, which must have the dates you plan to enter and leave Brazil.
- A clean, readable copy of your driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
- If you will be visiting friends or relatives, you also need a letter from your hosts.
To enter Brazil, you may also need a yellow fever vaccination. Vaccines are required of travelers who have been to any of the following countries in the past 3 months (90 days): Angola, Bolivia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Republic of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sudan or Venezuela.
If that sounds intimidating, RushMyTravelVisa can help. We’ll walk you through the paperwork step-by-step, make sure you’ve got everything you need, and get your application to the appropriate Brazilian embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.
Apply for your Brazilian visa today!