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Minas Gerais, Brazil

Serra da Moeda is an imposing mountain range and cultural landscape that extends through eight municipalities in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Occupied for many centuries, the area contains diverse cultural resources and historic sites dating to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Many communities of descendants of runaway slaves, called quilombos, are scattered throughout the site; their traditional harvest festivals and dance ceremonies still take place and are part of the site’s intangible heritage. The mountains are also the backdrop for important heritage sites in the neighboring municipalities, including the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Matosinhos, a World Heritage Site where the iconic baroque sculptures by Aleijadinho face Serra da Moeda.

Serra da Moeda has a long history of gold, iron ore, and manganese mining; moeda, which means coin, derives from the illegal mint that operated in the town of Sao Caetano between 1729 and 1731. The abandoned ruins of the Brumadinho Fort include seventeenth-century vestiges of the gold mining industry. Despite the importance of Serra de Moeda, pressure from urban development and increasing mining activities in the mountain range endanger its natural and cultural heritage. The current practice of open-pit mining without environmental regulation has significant social and environmental impacts on the natural and cultural landscape, and on the local communities. The inclusion of Serra da Moeda on the 2014 Watch will help advocate for more sustainable mining practices that better protect the natural and cultural heritage of the area.


In September 2014, the Municipal Council of Historic, Cultural, Artistic, and Natural Heritage of Belo Vale decided to protect 37.8 hectares of land in Serra da Moeda. October 2014



Download a 2014 Watch poster of this site (see download instructions).

World Monuments Fund



For Watch Day at Serra da Moeda, close to 8,000 people gathered on April 21, 2014, linking their hands together to embrace sections of the mountain range in a symbolic hug. Members of quilombo communities in Brumadinho performed a traditional dance of sieves, while others did the congado, an Afro-Brazilian religious and cultural dance and procession that represents the coronation of the king of Congo. The event was organized to advocate for the creation ecological corridors in Serra da Moeda, as well as the protection of the cultural and natural landscape, and the quality of life of the residents.

On Facebook:
2014 Watch Day Album
On Youtube:
2014 Watch Day at Serra da Moeda
In the Blogosphere:
Watch day: Embracing Serra da Moeda
In the Media:
Centenas de pessoas cobram intervenção na Serra da Moeda

Serra da Moeda
Ruins at Brumadinho Fort, in Serra da Moeda, 2012
Serra da Moeda
Open-pit mining operations in the region of Serra da Moeda, 2011
Serra da Moeda
The eighteenth-century Church of Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte (Church of Our Lady of the Good Death), in Serra da Moeda, 2013