The Pampulha Modern Ensemble, a modernist architectural complex designed by Oscar Niemeyer, is the 20th Brazilian site to be added to the United Nations cultural agency’s World Heritage list.
The site was inscribed on the list Sunday (July 17) in Istanbul, Turkey, by consensus decision of the 21 member countries in the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The official ceremony awarding the certificate to Brazil is slated for Aug. 17.
Located in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state, the Pampulha complex consists of five buildings — the São Francisco de Assis church, the Casa do Baile ballroom, the Pampulha Museum of Art, the Yacht Tennis Club, and Kubitschek House. They were all built around the man-made Pampulha lake between 1942 and 1943, during the administration of then-mayor Juscelino Kubitschek, who would become the 21st president of Brazil in 1956. As president, he commissioned the construction of Brazil’s modernist capital city, Brasília, which is also a World Heritage Site.
Pampulha also features gardens designed by Roberto Burle Marx, tile panels by Cândido Portinari, and sculptures by renowned artists including Alfredo Ceschiatti and José Alves Pedrosa.
In addition to the Pampulha Modern Ensemble, Minas Gerais state is home to three other World Heritage sites: the historic center of Diamantina, the historic town of Ouro Preto, and the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos in Congonhas.
The World Heritage designation boosts the tourist potential of the Pampulha complex, which is already one of the main attractions for visitors in the capital city of Minas Gerais. The city is planning to hold two months’ worth of festivities to celebrate the achievement, from July 22 to September 22.