Originally Vila Boa de Goiás, Goias city (some residents consider the popular nickname Goiás Velho (Old Goias) as pejorative, avoid using it, prefer to use City of Goiás; someone born here is a vilaboense) is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the former capital of the Brazilian state of Goias with a population around 27,000.
Soon after the discovery of gold in Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais, a belief emerged in the seventeenth century, that also would be gold in the central region of the country, still uninhabited. Then, very close to the Serra Dourada, Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva (the Anhanguera), found gold in the Red River and founded the Arraial de Sant'anna in 1727. The region was inhabited by the Goyaz Indians, who knew the locations of gold deposits. The Indians refused to tell the scouts where the deposits were then Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva put brandy in a bowl and puts fire. The Indians, astonished, shouted "Anhanguera" which means "Old Devil" and revealed the pioneers of where the mines were located.
A decade later, in 1737, the Arraial is elevated to the administrative category of Village, changing its name Vila Boa de Goyaz. In 1748, with the Royal Charter in effect, the Captaincy of Goyaz is created, and Vila Boa becomes its capital. The first governor, Don Marcos de Noronha, also known as Conde dos Arcos, builds many important buildings in the city, as the Foundry House and Conde dos Arcos Palace, the new seat of government.
In the early nineteenth century, the gold mines were exhausted; the city turned its economic activities for agriculture, and began to be valued culturally by resembling the São Paulo of 450 years before. The Procession of the Blaze is an important demonstration of Goiana culture. This occasion, that happens the Wednesday of Holy Week, is a representation of Christ's arrest. Also at this time, it was decided to construct a new pre-planned state capital, Goiânia, as the ancient city of Goiás had enormous problems of planning and had no where else to grow.
The construction of Goiânia, begun in 1933, by Governor Pedro Ludovico Teixeira, meant a setback in the question of the city population, since many of the residents moved to the new capital, but the effect was positive for the conservation of the historic center. The appointment of the City of Goiás as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001, further contributed to the city's tourism, which receives thousands of tourists every year, many from other countries.
To access the newer parts of town you will want to take either the first or second access entries into Goias from the main road. To access the historical area, enter at the third access road.
- From Goiania, it is a fairly straight shot through Inhumas on GO-070 connecting with BR-070 east of town.
Most of the touristic places to see are in the Historical Area of the city, which can easily be handled on foot. There are taxis available for short trips out of town. The bus stop is a fairly lenghty walk from the historical section of town, so if you are carrying much luggage expect to need a taxi for the last leg of the trip. A car is not very useful for in-city activity as the streets are extremely narrow.
- Bandeiras Museum (Museu das Bandeiras), Praça Brasil Caiado, s/nº. Built in 1761. First city jail, now works as a museum. There you can learn about the cells and how cruel that prisoners were kept at that time.
- Sant'Ana College (Colégio Sant'Ana). Founded in 1879 by Dominican friars.
- Conde dos Arcos Palace (Palácio Conde dos Arcos), Praça Castelo Branco (Largo do Palácio), s/n°. Built in a blend of Baroque and Classical styles, was the former seat of power of Goiás, before the capital was moved to Goiânia. Exposition features paintings, furniture and personal belongings of former governors. Every year, on July 25, the state governor comes to dispatch in the Palace, and the City of Goiás relives its fomer state capital status.
- Cora Coralina House (Casa de Cora Coralina), Rua D. Cândido (Rua dos Mercadores), nº 20. Goiás Velho is the native city of the poet Ana Lins dos Guimarães Peixoto Bretas (1889-1985), better known as Cora Coralina. Although she started writing at 14 years of age, she published her first book when she was 75. In order to survive, she made and sold crystallised sweets. The house where she lived, one of the oldest in the city, dating from 1782, has become a museum, containing her furniture, personal possessions, documents and letters from illustrious correspondents such as the poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade and the Bahian writer Jorge Amado.
- Foundry House (Casa da Fundição), Rua Luiz do Couto (Rua da Fundição), nº 1A. Dating from 1752. Gold from the mines was cast here. With the decline of the gold in the nineteenth century, the house stopped working in 1822. Today is the headquarters of the Public Prosecutor in the city, and maintains historical artifacts open to visitation in the building.
- Nossa Senhora d'Abadia Church (Igreja Nossa Senhora d'Abadia). Constructed in 1790, with its altar painted in blue and gold.
- Boa Morte Sacred Art Museum (Museu da Boa Morte), Largo da Boa Morte (Old Church of the Good Death). home to valuable sculptures by Veiga Valle, a baroque artist born in Goiás, descendant of the Portuguese royal family.
- Old Anhanguera Cross (Velho Cruz do Anhanguera), Rua da Lapa (in front of Lapa Bridge). This cross monument was constructed in 1722. The cross you see is a replica - the original cross was carried away by a flood in 2001, later found, and now displayed in the Boa Morte Sacred Art Museum.
- Rosary Church (Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos), Largo do Rosário. Built in 1761, this church houses painting by monk Nazareno Confaloni, a famed sacred artist in the state of Goiás.
- Trekking. In the nearby Serra Dourada hills.
Use caution in the rainy season - flash floods are common!
- Andorinhas is a pleasant, isolated waterfall accessible via the NW exit from the historical district. It is fairly well sign-posted as of 2007. There is not a large swimming area but the waterfall is high, the area shaded, and children can easily walk under the water.
- Poço do Sucuri (Anaconda Hole), 5 km outside of town towards Goiania. Has a deep (3 m) swimming hole with several sandy areas for the children to swim in. They serve lunch and have toilets and showers.
- Ateliê Trapiche, Rua do Fogo, nº 16. Pizzeria with firewood oven, nice selection of wines. Colonial ambience.
- Café do Cerrado, Rua Sebastião Fleury Curado, no number. Breads and pastries.
- Coreto. Ice cream parlor operating under the city's bandstand since 1952.
- Degust'Fun Pizzaria, Rua Quintino Bocaiúva, no number. Good pizza and cold beer.
- Hotel Vila Boa, Morro Chapéu de Padre, no number. Goiana and contemporary options à la carte. Ambience very close to nature.
- Poesias Restaurante, Rua Sebastião Fleury Curado, no number. Traditional typical Goiana food à la carte.
- Restaurante Braseiro, Praça Brasil Caiado, nº 03. Functioning in a typical colonial manor, typical goiana food on firewood stove. Good salads buffet too.
- Restaurante Dali Sabor & Arte, Rua 13 de Maio, nº 26. Diverse options à la carte and the famous Empadão Goiano.
- Restaurante Flor de Ipê, Praça da Boa Vista, nº 32. Goiana and contemporary dishs à la carte. Good wine chart.
- Restaurante Goiás.com, Praça de Tasso Camargo, nº 19. Goiana and contemporary dishes à la carte, with special herbs and spices. Posh ambience.
- Hotel Serrano, Avenida Dr. Deusdete F. de Moura, s/nº, ☎ . 15 double and triple rooms with air-con or ceiling fan, TV and fridge.
- Pousada do Ipê, ☎ . One-room chalets that will sleep up to five. Breakfast is included. R$147 in the low season.
- Pousada Dona Sinhá, ☎ . Only rural hotel of the region, 700 m from historic center, on a historic building more than 160 years old. Rural ambience, horse rides, very nice breakfast
- Hotel Casa da Ponte, Rua Moretti Foggia, s/nº (in front of Coralina House), ☎ . Most central location and very good, complete breakfast
- Hotel Vila Boa, Morro Chapéu de Padre, s/nº, ☎ . 29 apartments and 4 luxo suites, all have air-con, TV and fridge. Hotel has restaurant and meeting hall.
- Hotel-Fazenda Manduzanzan, Rodovia Mun. Goiás-Assentamento do Mosquito, km 6, ☎ . 12 cottages and 10 luxo rooms. Air-con, fridge, TV. Complete breakfast. Rural ambience, trekking, fishing lake, horse riding.