Belo Horizonte is Brazil's third largest city and the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. With its orderly grid plan and tree-lined avenues, it's a pleasant metropolis. For travelers, it's a good stopping point on the way to the beautiful colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes.
Founded in 1897, Belo Horizonte is a little over a century old. With a metropolitan population reaching more than 5 million (edging out Salvador), it was built as a planned city to take the place of Ouro Preto as the state's capital. Its layout features square sections delineated by broad avenues, intersected diagonally by smaller streets.
The city lies in the center of the Minas Gerais state, and was intended to bring together the many parts of this very diverse state.