Thursday, August 22, 2013

Goa Portuguese Architecture

The Portuguese have left an ever lasting impression on Goan Architecture. If you visit any of the cities of Goa such as Margao, Panjim , etc , you will see a large number of such Portuguese houses still being maintained in their original splendor, These Casas  ('Casa' means House in Portuguese) have been around for ages and still going strong.

Alvares Mansion in Margao
The traditional pre-Portuguese homes were inward-looking with small windows; this reflected the secluded role of women. The houses opened into courtyards, and rarely opened onto streets. The Catholic houses built or refurbished between the middle of the 18th and the 20th centuries were more outward-looking and ornamental, with balcões (covered porches) and verandas facing the street. The large balcões had built-in seating, open to the street, where men and women could sit together and ‘see and be seen’, chat with their neighbours, or just enjoy the evening breeze.

These balcões are bordered by ornamental columns that sometimes continued along the steps and added to the stature of the house. This, together with the plinth, which usually indicated the status of the owners. The houses of rich landlords had high plinths with grand staircases leading to the front door or balcão.

The walls were made of mud and then later of laterite stone; they were usually plastered then painted. Very few buildings are coloured exactly alike and solid colours are used for front facades; interiors are usually in paler colours/white with solid color highlights.

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