The small town of Carmo do Rio Claro, in southern Minas Gerais with approximately 20,000 inhabitants was elevated to city status in 1877. Having its origin with the Caiapós Indians, the first inhabitants of the region, the runaway slaves of mining, cattle drivers, travelers and farmers here formed the Village of Nossa Senhora do Carmo do Monte do Rio Claro in 1810, which would later give origin to the city.
The city, located 374km from Belo Horizonte, has undergone a drastic change in its rural-urban relationship when the Furnas Dam was inaugurated in 1963, which forced many families to flee their lands in rural areas, transferring their homes to the city. On the one hand the region lost economically productive areas through the flooding, however, in return received an over 200km sea of fresh water and had its destination redirected.
The cultural, artistic and educational changes in Carmo do Rio Claro began with the arrival of the Sisters of Providence in 1904 and Brothers of St. Gabriel in 1940. The French and Italian congregations , respectively, alongside the educational teachings, planted the art of manual work , turning what already existed in the region in a set of heritage and traditions.
Today, the city has its economic base in traditional agriculture, especially coffee cultivation, as well as livestock. However, a large number of families have their income originating from crafts such as looms, crochet, embroidery, pottery, jams and preserves.
Carmo do Rio Claro provides many touristic activities because of the beautiful natural landscape of Furnas Lake at the foot of the Serra da Tormenta, surrounded by the Cachoeira, the Mata , the Tabuleiro and the Tromba hills and as well as by the many streams and waterfalls.
The simplicity of its inhabitants, the cultural and artistic heritage, landscape, crafts and local tranquility are an invitation to tourists who wish to know what the State of Minas Gerais has to offer.