Juiz de Fora is a city noted for its pioneers.
The origins of the city are intertwined with the first settlements along the margins of the
"New Trail" (Caminho Novo), opened by Garcia Dias Paes, connecting the capital, Rio de Janeiro, to
the town of Vila Rica in the 18th century.
In 1836 Henrique Guilherme Fernando Halfeld, German born engineer, who had fought against the
armies of Napoleon Bonapart, in the Battle of Waterloo, received a commission from the Brazilian
Imperial Governament to open a new route from the existing "New Trail", starting from the location
then called the settlement of Santo Antonio do Paraibuna of Juiz de Fora (The Judge from the Outside
in literal translation). Because of this iniciative he has been called the founder of the city.
By the end of that same century Juiz de Fora was the Brazilian city that had witnessed greatest
development and already utilized energy produced by the first Hydroelectric Power Plant in Latin America.
By 1888 the city was connected to Rio de Janeiro by paved highway and by the Central Railway of Brazil.
Juiz de Fora appropriately received the title of "The Manchester of Minas". It's hymn goes on to say
"Hail the Princess of Minas".
Only a few hours distant from the more important tourist attractions in the southeast of Brazil, Juiz de Fora
is included in tours of the region, such as those to São João del Rey and Ouro Preto. Situated
equidistant from Angra dos Reis and Ouro Preto, the city is also very close to the "Circuit of the Waters"
(Mineral Water Spas), and only two hours from Rio de Janeiro, principal entry for tourists to Brazil.
The Bernado Mascarenhas Factory, a pioneering textile factory also from de past century, is one of the
attractions that gave Juiz de Fora the name "Manchester of Minas". Today, completely restored, it is an important
cultural center used for expositions, video shows, theater and art workshops.
The memory of the city is cultived in The Mariano Procopio Museum, one of three principal museums
in the country, due to the volume and significance of its content, unique in its European characteristics in Minas
Gerais. The Museum is also an area of recreation with an enchanting park.
The city also has the Murilo Mendes Center of Studies, homage to the poet from Juiz de Fora. His collection
of art including works of Picasso, Portinari and Max Ernst, among other great names of contemporary painting, was
transferred, was tranferred from Portugal to this Center in 1996.
Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism find spaces in various points of the region. Horse back riding, "motocross",
mountain bike and jeep rides are among the sports practiced with adventure and nature as essential attractions.
Juiz de Fora at night is noted for its bars, boites and dischotheques mainly with the presence of the younger
set. The bohemian tradition of the city is maintained in each of these locales. The cultural life in the city is intense.
The city has movies cinemas and theaters that show the spectacles in vogue in the larger centers, and has been the site
for national first runs.
The Central Cine Theater merits special attention and is one of the most important show places in the
State of Minas Gerais. Greatly admired by the artists that pass by our city, the theater has been acquired by the University
and administered by the City Government.
The installation of the Mercedes Benz of Brazil in the city was the harbinger of a new dawn of development at the end of this millennium.
Besides the attractions, Juiz de Fora also counts on a sophisticated and complete commerce. All the infra-structure
has been prepared to receive tourists and business people. The City Government is now studying new projects with the view
of promoting tourism as a first line product. Investment in this area is a fundamental decision toward renewed development
in the region.