São Thomé das Letras
São Thomé das Letras is in Southern Minas Gerais.
The name of the town is based in a legend of a runaway slave who found a statue of Saint Thomas inside a grotto, together with a letter written perfectly in superb calligraphy (impossible for an illiterate, untrained slave), after fleeing the plantation farm belonging to the powerful Baron of Alfenas (a rich landlord), where he was kept captive. When the slave was found by slave catchers, this revelation resulted in his alforria (emancipation) from his owner, who was greatly amazed by the facts and story the slave brought to him. The baron afterwards commanded the construction of a church beside the grotto; today, this church is the center of São Thomé das Letras.
- STL is best reached by the Fernão Dias highway, which connects São Paulo and Belo Horizonte. Coming from either, exit the highway at Três Corações and follow the MG-868 road afterwards.
- Casa da Pirâmide (Pyramid House). Beautiful views at an abandoned house built close to the city's highest ground.
- Igreja Matriz, Praça Barão de Alfenas (city center). Built in 1785, with rococo features. Noteworthy is the painting of the nave, which portrays Christ surrounded by the apostles, and St. Thomas kneeling at his feet. The work is signed by the artist Joaquim José da Natividade. Beside the church is the grotto of St. Thomas, where happened the miraculous find that gave birth to the city, according to legend.
- Igreja da Pedra (Stone Church). This church does not have many records or artworks. It is estimated that the construction was started by slaves in the 18th century, and was completed only in 1995. The impressive structure is made with stones superimposed one by one.
- Cruzeiro (Wooden Cross). Religious landmark located in Parque Antonio Rosa, with a 360 degree view of the entire landscape that surrounds the city. Ideal to observe natural phenomena. Locals say it's the best place for spotting UFO phenomena, from appearances of extraterrestrial spacecraft to energetic collisions; also suitable for astronomical observations of the planets and constellations.
- Rock formations. The "Witch" (a Bruxa) is the most famous.
- Gruta do Carimbado. Very deep cave that has never been entirely mapped. Some believe that this cave is actually an underground path to Machu Picchu.
- Gruta São Thomé.
- Véu de Noiva.
- Eubiose (Eubiose).
- O Alquimista, R. Capitão Pedro José Martins, 7, ☎ +55 35 3237-1279. Typical Minas cuisine.
- Massaroca, Praça Barão de Alfenas, 31, ☎ +55 35 3237-1279. Eclectic cuisine.
- Pizzaria Ser Criativo, Praça Getúlio Vargas, 18, ☎ +55 35 3237-1266. Pizzas baked on stones in a wood-burning oven.
- Pousada Shangrilá, Estrada São Thomé-Três Corações, km 6, ☎ +55 35 9926-3405, +55 35 9851-3870. Simple rooms and chalets, outside the city, close to the Shangrilá and Panelas waterfalls.
- Pousada das Estrelas, Rua Projetada IV 2,Rosário.
- Pousada dos Anjos, Rua Marciolínio Costa 34, Centro.
- Pousada Encanto e Magia, Rua José Cristiano Alves 33, Centro, ☎ +55 35 3237 1239, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Pousada Paraíso, Rua Marcionílio Ribeiro Costa 33, Centro, ☎ +55 35 3237-1231.
- Pousada Alpha Centauris, Rua Marcos de Almeida Jorge 21, Centro (close to the Pyramid House), ☎ +55 35 3237-1103, +55 35 8415-1703.
- Pousada Arco Íris, Rua João Batista Neves, 19, Centro, ☎ +55 35 3237-1212, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.