About Poços de Caldas

Published: Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Poços de Caldas is a city located in south-western Minas Gerais state, Brazil, in the micro-region of the same name.


It lies on the boundary of the state of São Paulo at 1186 meters elevation and is the main social-economic nucleus of its region, having an area of 544 km² (85 km² urban and 459 km² rural) in the municipality.


The physical area is made up for the most part of a high plateau formed by mountains, fields and valleys with an area of approximately 750 km². The average elevation is 1200 m (3937 ft), with Cristo Redentor, the highest point, at 1686 m (5531 ft). The topography is highly suggestive of a volcanic crater and, given that the region's rocks are indeed igneous and there are hot springs, this gave rise to a common misconception that Poços de Caldas would be located inside the crater of a large extinct volcano. In reality, Poços de Caldas is inside a caldera that was formed by the collapse of a central portion of terrain amid elevated areas, and while the latter have volcanic origin, the process that formed the supposed "crater" had nothing to do with volcanic activity.


Poços de Caldas occupies a highly strategic geographical location, due to its proximity to São Paulo (243 km), Belo Horizonte (460km) and Rio de Janeiro (470 km), whose connections are made with good highways, and due to its integration into the routes of some hydro-mineral spas. Known for its thermal baths, the city has many resort hotels.


The climate is characterized by dry winters and mild summers. The winter is from April to September and has an average temperature of 15°C and rainfall of 315 mm. The summer is from October to March and has an average temperature of 21 °C with rainfall of 1,430 mm. The average annual temperature is 17 °C.


The local soils are rich in minerals and yield thorium, zirconium, and bauxite, which is converted into aluminum there. The city has Brazil's first uranium-ore concentration plant, for use in the Angra I nuclear-power facility in Angra dos Reis.


Poços is also the home of one of the largest bauxite mines in the world belonging to Alcoa. Bauxite is an ore that contains at least 45% alumina, which is extracted to make aluminum.


The city is also famous for its glass, which is known internationally. The founders of the factories were descendants of the artistic glassmakers who lived on the Island of Murano, near Venice, in Italy. In the city there are four glass factories: Ca'D'oro, São Marcos, Veneza and Bonora.


Due to its wealth in hydro-mineral resources, Poços de Caldas is also known for the quality of the soap that it produces. Some are almost handmade. There are four factories in the city: Raízes, Antares, Sarandi and Terra Brasil.


The city is very well taken care of, with several green areas, among parks, squares, gardens and São Domingos mountain, which has trails for walking. The sulphurous water is the main attraction and can be consumed in several fountains and at the Thermas Antônio Carlos. There is an aerial tram to get to the Statue of Christ the Redeemer (1,686 mts.). At the top of the mountain there is a great view of the nearby mountains. The city also offers options such as a Japanese tea garden, a theme park, museums, theaters, and other cultural events, the most important being the yearly Music in the Mountains Festival (Festival Musica nas Montanhas).



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