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The city of Goiás, better known as Goiás Velho, was founded in 1727 by the bandeirantes (explorers whose initial goals were to enslave the indigenous peoples and, later, to capture African slaves who had escaped into the interior), who settled here when they found gold and diamonds. By order of the king of Portugal, a mint was built here in 1774 to process the large amounts of gold found in the Serra Dourada (Golden Sierras)—a mountain range surrounding the city. The town kept growing well into the 1800s but became stagnant as the gold, silver, and gemstones disappeared.
It was the state's capital until 1937, when the government moved to a more central location in the new planned city of Goiânia. Goiás seemingly lost its importance overnight, but most of the baroque colonial architecture was preserved, and today it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Much like Pirenópolis, Goiás is an important handicrafts center. It's also known for being the hometown of Cora Coralina, one of Brazil's most renowned poets. The house where she lived has become a museum.
Goiás Velho at a Glance
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