Varginha

Varginha

[vahr-zhee-nyah]

Varginha is a city and municipality in southwest Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The estimated population is approximately 120,000 inhabitants and the area of the municipality is 396.39 km². The elevation is 950 mts.

The city has an excellent location between Belo Horizonte and São Paulo and nearby one of the country's most important and busiest highways, the BR-381, or Rodovia Fernão Dias, which has recently been widened to four lanes.

Varginha is the second largest producer of coffee in the country, which has brought prosperity to the city and aided the rapid population growth. It is the headquarters of the Adauto Marques de Paiva coffee-growing family's Café Bom Dia.

Ranked among the top cities in the country in standard of living (life expectancy: 73.6; average years of study: 6.15) the city has fifteen health centers in the neighborhoods, three hospitals--one specializing in heart surgery--and two emergency units to attend the population. There is also a regional center for treatment of cancer, which serves a population of three million people in the south of Minas Gerais.

Varginha achieved a certain fame in UFO circles due to the so-called Varginha incident in 1996 , in which two extraterrestrial beings were allegedly spotted by locals and later captured by Brazilian Army, along with the local police and fire department. Three girls who saw one of the creatures became quite famous all over Brazil. One of them later converted to an evangelical church. Brazilian UFO researchers fear she can deny having seen the creature because of her new faith.

After this episode known as the "visit from the ET", the city began to invest in "UFO tourism". Today there are bus stops with the shape of spaceships, a huge water tower downtown also in the shape of a spaceship; all with lights and considered quite attractive. In August 2004, UFO researchers from all over Brazil came together at the I UFO Congress of Varginha, organized with the support of the City Hall.

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