Pilar de Goiás

Lat: -14.761325000000000, Long: -49.570002777778000

Pilar de Goiás

Goiás, Brazil

Historical Background and Urbanism

The discovery of gold in the region that the Indians called Papuan was credited to João de Godoy Pinto da Silveira in 1741, when he was hunting down escaped black outlaws. For some time, the urban nucleus was known as Papuan, which corresponded to the couch grass that grew in abundance in that region. Located between the serras of Muquém, Boa Vista and Pendura, the mines of the Nossa Senhora do Pilar arraial quickly developed. Gold was extracted from neighbouring streams, mainly from the River Vermelho, located to the south of the encampment. The urban complex was composed of aligned, straight streets, with some side streets forming crossroads. There were few squares, a curious fact mentioned by travellers who went there in the 19th century and this can be noted when looking at the arrangement of the surviving buildings. The forecourt of the parish church was therefore an important meeting point. This space contained a magnificent wooden belfry and one of the fountains that supplied the arraial. According to Dubugras, the Chapel of Our Lady of Pilar was assigned a resident priest in 1751 and an ordained vicar 4 years later. Due to its importance and influence in relation to neighbouring arraiais, Pilar was the seat of the judicial district. It was raised to the status of a town in 1831, although this was only established two years later. It was one of the most prosperous urban centres in the captaincy in the 1770s, rivalling the capital, Meia Ponte, and Traíras in importance. The urban complex was mainly composed of single-storey houses, which were clearly beginning to fall into ruin as early as the first half of the 19th century because of the shortage of gold, according to Pohl. Cunha Mattos confirms this fact, which affected all the houses, from the most modest to the most luxurious. Even in a situation of poverty, one could still see the careful workmanship of some residences. The same thing happened with the churches. Of the four churches that stood in the prosperous arraial, only the small Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy stands as an example of 18th-century religious architecture in Pilar. The churches on the southern side, Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Good Death have long been extinct and the Parish Church of Our Lady of Pilar collapsed in the early 20th century. Cunha Mattos described it as a spacious, rich and beautiful church that had seven altars. The present parish church was built in 1922, in the forecourt of the former one. It was smaller and followed the same style as the original one, according to local oral tradition. Dubugras notes that some of the materials used in the construction of the parish church were brought from the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, including some of the altars, which helped to form the existing arrangement of the chancel. Due to the isolation that it experienced after the end of the gold cycle, Pilar has preserved a rich architectural heritage in its historic centre, having unique examples such as the small Town Hall and Prison and part of the cluster of houses with features from the 18th century, such as their fine window shutters. Pilar was recognised as national historical and artistic heritage in 1954 and as state heritage in 1980.

Equipment and Infrastructures