Friday, February 15, 2008

Latin Quarter


The Fontainhas and Mala area is often called the 'Latin Quarter' of Panjim. I went strolling through Fontainhas, Mala, Rua de Ourem and Altinho. The architecture of these old houses, some of them nicely restored, is pleasant on the eye. This area is a Mecca for tourists in Goa who wish to saunter back in time.

Fontainhas is the heritage quarter of the capital city of Panaji, lying along the banks of the ancient Ourem creek. This old district or latin quarter has a completely different atmosphere from the hustle and bustle of the main city, with its Mediterranean appearance, narrow streets and overhanging balconies of the ancient Portuguese style houses.

The area was laid out on reclaimed land in the late eighteenth century by "the Mossmikar", a Goan expatriate so called because he had made his fortune in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique. The entire area is laid out at the base of a hillside known as Altinho, and the natural springs on the hillside, gave the name Fontainhas to the area. (

The original Latin Quarter of Paris (Quartier latin) is an area on the left bank of the Seine, around the Sorbonne University. The name derives from the Latin language, which was widely spoken in the Middle Ages in and near the University. It houses higher education establishments, such as the École Normale Supérieure, the École des Mines de Paris (a ParisTech institute) and the Jussieu university campus. It is known for its lively atmosphere and bistros. (wikipedia)

The old world charm of the area is retained due to the fact that most houses in the area, which are built in the classic Portuguese style are still painted in the traditional colours of pale yellow, green or blue, and have red-tiled roofs with overhanging balconies. (

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