São João del-Rei

São João del Rei, also spelled São João del Rey or São João del-Rei, is a Brazilian municipality in the state of Minas Gerais. Founded in 1713 in homage to King John V of Portugal, the city is famed for its historic Portuguese colonial architecture. The current population is estimated at 90,497 inhabitants.

São João del-Rei
Município de São João del-Rei
One of the many ornate churches and the most popular in the city, the Igreja São Francisco de Assis.
One of the many ornate churches and the most popular in the city, the Igreja São Francisco de Assis.
Flag of São João del-Rei
Official seal of São João del-Rei
Bell city
College Town
Location of São João del-Rei in the state of Minas Gerais
Location of São João del-Rei in the state of Minas Gerais
São João del-Rei is located in Brazil
São João del-Rei
São João del-Rei
Location of São João del-Rei in Brazil
Coordinates: 21°08′09″S 44°15′43″W / 21.13583°S 44.26194°W / -21.13583; -44.26194Coordinates: 21°08′09″S 44°15′43″W / 21.13583°S 44.26194°W / -21.13583; -44.26194
Country Brazil
StateBandeira de Minas Gerais.svg Minas Gerais
 • PrefeitoNivaldo José de Andrade (PSL)
 • Total1,464.327 km2 (565.380 sq mi)
898 m (2,946 ft)
 (2020 [1])
 • Total90,497
Time zoneUTC-3 (UTC-3)

Other historical cities in Minas Gerais are Ouro Preto, Diamantina, Mariana, Tiradentes, Congonhas and Sabará.


It is located in the drainage basin of the Rio Grande and its terrain is located in the Mantiqueira mountains. It is a centre for the cities in the south and southeast of Minas Gerais.

The municipality contains part of the Ritápolis National Forest.[2]


São João del-Rei, 1957.

The city was founded by the bandeirantes; Tomé Portes del-Rei is considered the city's founder. The original small village situated in southern Minas Gerais was created as a staging post on the Estrada Real, a trade route from the coast at Paraty to cities in the central region of Minas Gerais such as Ouro Preto, Mariana and Conselheiro Lafaiete. Later huge amounts of gold were found near the city itself.


Today, São João del-Rei is a university town. The campus of the Federal University of São João del-Rei (UFSJ) and a number of other educational institutions are present in the city. A second medical school is to be established at the University.[citation needed]

The city has many famous religious festivals through the year, most of them preserving the way it was celebrated by the time of the foundation, with baroque music and special celebrations that attracts tourists from all over the world, particularly during Holy Week, when the town receives the greatest influx of visitors.

Cathedrals and churchesEdit

Notable peopleEdit

Estrada de Ferro Oeste de MinasEdit

São João del Rei was an important station on the Estrada de Ferro Oeste de Minas, a narrow gauge railway characterised by woodburning steam locomotives, and the location of a major roundhouse. The station and surrounding facilities have been turned into Brazil's largest railway museum, and a tourist railway operates from the station to the well preserved colonial town of Tiradentes.


  1. ^ IBGE 2020
  2. ^ Unidade de Conservação: Floresta Nacional de Ritápolis (in Portuguese), MMA: Ministério do Meio Ambiente, retrieved 2016-05-19
  3. ^ http://www.gcatholic.org/churches/brazil/0936.htm GCatholic, with Google satellite map

External linksEdit