Belo Horizonte is Brazil's sixth-largest city, the center of its third-largest urban area and the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. With its orderly grid plan and tree-lined avenues, it's a pleasant metropolis. For travelers, it's a good stopping point on the way to the beautiful colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes.
Belo Horizonte (or simply "BH" (beh-ah-GAH) to locals) is little over a century old. With a metropolitan population reaching more than 5 million (edging out Salvador), it was built as a planned city to take the place of Ouro Preto as the State's capital. Its layout features square sections drawn out by broad avenues, intersected diagonally by smaller streets. The city lies in the center of the Minas Gerais state, and is intended to bring together the many parts of this very diverse state.