I am certainly not the type of tourist that likes to visit museums. In fact, I am pretty much a stroller and an observer. I believe walking around with no purpose is the best way to disconnect from your reality and simply observe: the place, the culture, and the people.
Nevertheless, there is a museum I love so much. I have been there three times, and each one of them was a different experience. It is the Inhotim art museum, located in a small city called Brumadinho, one hour ride away from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.
Inhotim is not only the biggest open-air museum in the world, but it is also one of the most important sources of contemporary art in Brazil. It includes an 8 km2 botanic garden that brings together 5.000 species from all continents, representing more than 28% of botanical families known around the planet.
It was created in 2004 by a wealthy mining entrepreneur who wanted to transform his own lands into an open art gallery, mixing masterpieces from contemporary artists along with naturalistic landscapes.
In general, Inhotim is open to visitors from Tuesdays to Sundays, and tickets cost around 8€. Also, since the museum is so big, some people prefer to enjoy rides with internal transportation, which I recommend most for people in need and the elderly. You pay around 5€, and you can enjoy Inhotim much more relaxed.
Whenever you want to visit Inhotim, in Minas Gerais, I recommend two things: be patient and dress comfortably. The museum is so big that even if you get there at 9:30 (opening time) and leave at 16:30 (closing time), still, you will not have seen everything!
It is ok not to follow the reception map, and I always prefer to follow my own eyes. There are so many lakes around it, with all the sorts of flowers, banana trees, and palm trees that you might only want to stroll around and not even check out the art exhibitions.
To enjoy the atmosphere at its best, there are dozens of wood benches where you can sit and relax while listening to the birds, the wind, and checking out nature. I personally could say I was in heaven: I was around nature but with water fountains, bathrooms, restaurants, and art!
Below you may find information about two of the art galleries that were most meaningful to me.
Rodoviária de Brumadinho is a realistic sculpture made by two American artists who portraited people from Brumadinho's bus station. Passengers, policemen, buses, and trees "come out of the wall" and give us a real insight into the local culture. The sculptures' facial expressions are very creepy, which is why this wall caught my attention and memory so much.
Sonic Pavilion, also known as "the sound of the Earth," is an empty and circular pavilion surrounded by glass walls. In the middle of the pavilion, there is a 202m deep pipe with microphones and amplification equipment to capture the sound of the ground.
At first sight, you might think the sounds are just white noise, but if you lay down in the room, you can experience a deep connection with the Earth. I simply love it!
The only hard part is to reach this gallery, as it is the highest point in Inhotim, and you must walk more than 30 minutes to get there. But it is totally worth the effort!
For me, a place that brings together nature and art is definitely a place to remember. Bring a good camera with you and take as many pictures as you want. You will hardly find such a beautiful and heavenly open-air museum as Inhotim in any other place.
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