The most impressive way to approach BELO HORIZONTE is from the south, over the magnificent hills of the Serra do Espinhaço, on a road that winds back and forth before finally cresting a ridge where the entire city is set out before you. It’s a spectacular sight, as Belo Horizonte sprawls in an enormous bowl surrounded by hills, a sea of skyscrapers, favelas and industrial suburbs. From the centre, the jagged, rust-coloured skyline of the Serra do Espinhaço, which gave the city its name, is always visible on the horizon – still being transformed by the mines gnawing away at the “breast of iron”.

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