Underground heritage takes part of the history of Minas and reminds us of Drummond – Gerais

Landslide in Morro da Forca destroyed two properties yesterday without leaving any victims. disaster be investigated (photo: Jair Amaral/EM/DA Press)
The immense loss is reminiscent of the verses of Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987) in “Morte das casa de Ouro Preto”. The Minas Gerais poet wrote, almost in a prophetic tone, in 1951: “Over time, over the rammed earth, the rain flows. On the walls that saw men die, that saw gold flee, that saw the kingdom end, that saw, turned, saw, no longer see. They also die./ Gone is the kneecap, sifting like the worn-out lace of a funerary dress. And crashing out the door. Only the monorhythmic rain on the night, on the story drips. Houses die.”
Part of the architectural ensemble recognized as World Heritage in 1980 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and listed by the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (Iphan) since 1938, the building opened in 1906 It had been banned for 10 years. Visibly dismayed, Mayor Angelo Oswaldo said that it was the first neocolonial-style building in Ouro Preto.

Meet the ‘herona’ who avoided deaths in the landslide in Ouro Preto

According to the mayor, the risk of landslides prevented restoration work and the use of the mansion. He is now reactivating an agreement with funds from the federal government, which had already been released and were stopped, via Caixa Econmica Federal, for intervention on the slopes of Ouro Preto. “Look at the paradox: in the dry period, we had a fire on the slope, which destroyed all the vegetation. Now, in the rainy season, there is landslide.”

For the superintendent of Minas at Iphan, Dbora do Nascimento França, it is a moment of sadness, but also of hope: “Ouro Preto is memory, commitment and overcoming since the Inconfidência Mineira. And so on.”


See what Casaro Baeta Neves was like, a 19th century townhouse, and the colonial house next to it (photo: Google Streetview)

In a statement, Iphan reported that the property had been closed since 2012, when a stretch of the slope occurred, compromising an existing annex at the back of the lot. “There were no casualties, since shortly before the incident, the Civil Defense of Ouro Preto, together with the Municipal Civil Guard, blocked the surrounding roads, after noticing signs of earth moving. The area had been monitored by the Civil Defense since the end of 2021, due to the heavy rains that affect the region.”

According to the note from the federal authority, “the Iphan Technical Office was at the site a few minutes after the disaster, and has been monitoring the progress of the situation, through constant exchange of information with the municipal government and other competent entities.” The Public Ministry of Minas Gerais informed that it will investigate the facts and responsibilities regarding the collapse of the historic building. The First Prosecutor’s Office of Ouro Preto has launched an investigation into the destroyed property yesterday and also into the former Varejo da Estação, on 12/15/2011. In the survey, there are technical documents produced over the years testing geological risk, classified as “high to very high” landslide susceptibility.

To understand the extent of the loss, it is worth knowing that Solar Baeta Neves was built at the end of the 19th century by the state senator and mayor of Ouro Preto, Alfredo Baeta. According to Iphan, the oldest record on the property indicates that the land was acquired in 1890 by the Baeta Neves family. The house was built in the following two years, on the banks of the Crego do Funil, near the Railway Station, the place that was most developed in the city, before the transfer of the capital to Belo Horizonte. The house underwent restoration work in 2010, through the Monumenta Program.

historic losses

Minas has already lost many important buildings – or part of them – in cities with a colonial past, the most recent case being the walls that collapsed at Solar Melo Viana, in Sabar, in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte. Undoubtedly, it is necessary that the collapse in Ouro Preto serves as a lesson, as it lights the warning signal for the preservation of the rich heritage of Minas. In Santa Luzia (RMBH), Solar da Baronesa, in the Historic Center, demands attention from the authorities, as there has even been a court decision asking for the 19th century building to be vacated because it poses serious risks.

Thus, Drummond’s verses serve to light the way in this time of storms: “The rain comes down, only canada. How it rains, how it drips, in the country of remembranes! How it beats, how it wounds, how it pierces the marrow, how it stings, how it spears, the fine dart of rain.”
Last week, the State of Mines saw up close the situation caused by heavy rains in Ouro Preto, where the authorities declared maximum alert. On Caminho das Fbricas, nine families, totaling 32 people, were evacuated from houses on Desidrio de Matos and Francisco Isaac streets, five kilometers from the Historic Center. In the early afternoon of Tuesday, there was a landslide on a slope, without causing casualties. According to the municipal secretary of Social Defense, Juscelino Gonalves, all municipal bodies and the Fire Department are on call 24 hours a day. On Rua Padre Rolim, a few meters from Praa Tiradentes, the wall of a house gave way, being covered with black canvas.

About Abhishek Pratap

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