Ouro Preto, Or Villarica, an inland city of Brazil, capital of the province of Minas Geraes, and of a district of the same name, 170 m. N. by W. of Rio de Janeiro; pop. about4,000. It is situated on several hills near the Itacolumi mountain, at an elevation of 4,000 ft. above the sea, and is irregularly built, with crooked and for the most part ill-paved streets; but some of the more modern houses are well constructed. Among the public edilices, which are more remarkable for their number and dimensions than for beauty, are 15 churches, two of which are profusely decorated internally, the government house, governor's palace, treasury, museum (founded in 1864), mint, theatre, two prisons, a barrack, and a civil and a military hospital. The educational establishments include a college of pharmacy and surgery, with chairs of Portuguese and Latin, half a dozen primary schools, one private school, a public library, and a model botanic garden with a school of agriculture. Leguminous plants and fruits are the chief productions of the surrounding country.
There is a considerable trade with Rio de Janeiro. Although the mountains in the vicinity are very auriferous, and the mines were once the richest in the empire, the mining is now reduced to comparatively unprofitable washings. - Ouro Preto was founded in 1690; it was named Villarica in 1711, but the first name (meaning "black gold") was restored in 1822.