©  Wikimedia Commons/ Mario Luongo Junior
© Wikimedia Commons/ Mario Luongo Junior
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A journey into the center of the world: Gruta de Maquiné

2 minutes to read

A famous writer from Brazil, João Guimarães Rosa, comes from a small city located in the center of the state of Minas Gerais, called Cordisburgo. With less than 10 thousand people, this city is not very touristic and offers only a few things to do, such as visiting the house of Guimarães Rosa and checking out the square and its huge sloth statue.

However, a bit far from the city center, there is an internationally famous for its rocks and history cavern. Its name is Gruta de Maquiné, and it was found in 1825 by a farmer called Joaquim Maria Maquiné. Later on, it turned to be the research object of the Danish naturalist Peter Willhelm Lund

Gruta de Maquiné, Minas Gerais 

Open to visitors since 1967, this cavern is huge, with 650 meters of corridors and eight big chambers. It is quite comfortable to stroll around it (ok, at least compared to other caverns) since it has an only 18 meters earth gap, so you will not need to go up and down all the time.

Each one of the eight chambers is named after an element that distinguishes them. For example, one of them is known as “Pools”, the other is called “Elephant,” another one is known as “Sheep”. The main rocks in each one of them are said to have such shapes. They are named after human creativity that turns us able to identify them.

The Danish researcher, Lund, found that this cave is way much older than us. Its rocks were once under the old seas of Neoproterozoic Age, 1 billion to 545 million years ago, and were also home for thousand-year-old animals as giant sloths, that were as big as sheep, and birds with a 3 meters height. Humans lived in this cave too, leaving us some tools made of rock and enigmatic drawings: a proof that conceptual art crosses limits of time. 

©  Wikimedia Commons/Halley Pacheco de Oliveira
© Wikimedia Commons/Halley Pacheco de Oliveira

If you would like to make a journey into the center of the world, I recommend you visit Gruta de Maquiné. The lightning is great, so you can observe the details of the stalagmites and stalactites. The tour guides are helpful and friendly, which will make you even more interested in history and help you understand the reason why there is a massive sloth in the main square of the city (sorry for the spoiler!).

©  Flickr/ Patsy M_
© Flickr/ Patsy M_

As Lund spotted: “the richest poetic imagination could not picture such a splendid house for such marvelous beings; facing this cavern, it would be forced to confess its impotence.” And to finish this story, as João Guimarães Rosa said: “The most important and beautiful thing in the world is that people are not always the same, they are in constant change.” Well, it has nothing to do with Gruta de Maquiné, but it has a lot to do with traveling, do you agree?


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The author

Romara Chaves

Romara Chaves

I'm a 27-year-old journalist, born and raised in Minas Gerais, Brazil. I am full of passions. Music and travelling are probably the biggest ones and on itinari I will let you discover my beautiful Brazilian state!

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