Mapusa [Mapuçá]

Lat: 15.591805555556000, Long: 73.812963888889000

Mapusa [Mapuçá]

Goa, India

Historical Background and Urbanism

Due to its central position in the territory of Bardez, Mapusa was always a crossing point with various accesses; this favoured its development as a place with strong commercial characteristics. People from all parts of Goa flocked to the weekly fairs and to the annual fair held during the festival in honour of Our Lady of Miracles. The built-up area grew up between the hill and the lower area of paddy fields, developing lengthwise along the road connecting the rest of Bardez province to the west and Saint Jerome’s Church nearby to the east. By around 1827 it was described as being bigger than Panaji. This, along with its commercial importance, probably justifies its position from the early 19th century on as the administrative centre of Bardez and the eventual decision to grant it town status. The first known urban transformations date to the early 1840s: houses were expropriated, streets unblocked and aligned. A barracks was built on the west side, and the prison in the centre of town. Ten years later a new building was put up to house the town hall. The work continued and new improvements were made during the governorship of the Count of Torres mapusa Among others, they affected the street where the town hall was located, which continued northward. These are probably the efforts referred to in the decree which raised Mapusa to town status (1858) and by José Nicolau da Fonseca (1878), indicating that it had improved considerably in recent years. But this opinion was not shared by everyone. In an 1879 report, Governor Caetano de Albuquerque (1878- 82) made a detailed description of Mapusa, stating that it was a town only in name. There were three streets: the high street which entered from the west and forked into two secondary ones: one continued the high street’s course eastward, the other northward. All were described as being in a high state of disrepair. The governor complained that people could build wherever they wanted, despite municipal construction laws. His report also informs that the prison was overfull; the schools operated in the barracks; the town hall housed most public departments; and conditions in the market next to the town hall were unhygienic. The lower castes lived on the outskirts of the village, on the east side by the cemetery, while the better houses were distant and isolated. Available information verifies that a number of streets south of the old market were laid out or planned in the last decades of the 19th century. The same construction rules were applied in Mapusa as in Panaji and Margao. Work was done to consolidate the river banks and deepen the riverbed. Despite those efforts, a 1907 report on health conditions in Mapusa reported its lamentable condition. At the end of that year Governor Horta e Costa (1907-10) ordered a plan produced on how to improve and expand the town. The work done in the next several years probably followed that plan. The town grew slowly, absorbing the slope, a process already anticipated as the previous century drew to a close. Expropriations were carried out in 1920; by the end of that decade an avenue was built along the ridgeline, enabling a better urbanisation of the high ground. The secondary school and court buildings were placed there, followed soon after by the Communities Administration, thus strengthening this new urban centre. A street paralleling the ridgeline was also built halfway up the slope, along with several perpendicular bystreets linking the two areas. Here a more open residential quarter developed, mainly comprising residences with gardens set on isolated lots. In the lower town, south of the town hall on the west side, efforts were also made to reorganise the urban grid. Various streets were laid out perpendicular to the main streets, along with other connectors. Land was reclaimed from the floodplains, which were bounded by a road linking the east side to the Church Square. On the west side the street plans likewise followed a more or less regular pattern, aligned parallel to existing streets. Hamlets on the outskirts were gradually absorbed by the urban perimeter. By the early 1930s Mapusa was a city. In the 1950s the lower town underwent a major renewal, with several more flood-prone areas reclaimed and the start of construction of a new market. The immense area reserved for this definitively confirms that Mapusa was a commercial city with a very active population.

Equipment and Infrastructures

Religious Architecture

Military Architecture