Minas Gerais (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈminɐz ʒeˈɾajs]) is one of the 26 states of Brazil, ranks as the second most populous, the third by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a major urban and finance center in Latin America, and is the sixth largest urban agglomeration in Brazil, after the cities of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasilia and Fortaleza, but its metropolitan area is the third largest in Brazil with just over 5,500,000 inhabitants, after those of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Minas Gerais is the Brazilian state with the largest number of Presidents of Brazil; Brazil's current president, Dilma Rousseff, having been born in Belo Horizonte, is one of them.
With 586,528 km2 (greater than France), it is the fourth most extensive state in Brazil. The main producer of coffee and milk in the country, Minas Gerais is known for its heritage of architecture and colonial art in historical cities such as Ouro Preto, Diamantina, Tiradentes and Mariana. In the south, the tourist points are the hydro mineral spas, such as Caxambu, São Lourenço, Poços de Caldas, São Thomé das Letras, Monte Verde and the national parks of Caparaó and Canastra. The landscape of the State is marked by mountains, valleys, and large areas of fertile lands. In the Serra do Cipó, Sete Lagoas, Cordisburgo and Lagoa Santa, the caves and waterfalls are the attractions. Some of Brazil's most famous caverns are located there. In recent years, the state has emerged as one of the largest economic forces of Brazil, exploring its great economic potential.
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