Lat: 15.498641666667000, Long: 73.828380555556000
Panaji [Panagi/Pangim/Panjim/Nova Goa]
Historical Background and Urbanism
Panaji is located on the left bank of the mouth of the Mandovi River. Known testimony indicates that a small hamlet had existed on the site from at least the 11th century. For the Portuguese, Panaji was a vital point in the defence system for the city of Goa and was therefore subject to a constant military presence. Construction of the causeway (> Count of Linhares Bridge-Causeway) in 1633 made for an easier connection between Panaji and the city of Goa, enhancing the former’s importance and starting the physical transformation of this area. But uncertainty regarding the capital’s move, debated since 1684 and often heatedly until the early 20th century, meant that Panaji grew slowly; there are no reports of major plans or transformations until the Pombaline period. In the mid-1770s two surveys were carried out, in which one can see how Panaji was during that period. The creeks of Fontainhas to the east and Saint Ines to the west were its natural borders. At Fontainhas a street developed parallel to the creek, along which were small houses; the houses of wealthier Portuguese or Portuguese- descended families were situated along the Saint Ines creek. Some of the most important streets from that time can be identified among the current streets: in the central zone, Rua Dr Dada Vaidya, which connected northern Fontainhas and Saint Ines, skirting by the foot of the hill the existing marshes, and Rua Mahatma Gandhi, which crossed the marshes and rice fields; in Fontainhas, Rua 31 de Janeiro and Rua João Castro to the north. The population mainly settled along Rua Mahatma Gandhi, whose name at the time is unknown, though in 1870 it was divided into two sections: Rua Velha and Rua Principal [Old Street and Main Street]. These names reflect its importance well. All the constructions indicated in the surveys were private houses, barring the Governor’s Palace, the cavalry company’s quarters located at the north end of Fontainhas, the Church of the Conception and the Church of Saint Ines (1653). Little remains of the private houses, though the former house of the Athaide Teive family can still be seen. It is better known as the Maquines Palace and was completely transformed in the second half of the 19th century. The first known plan of Panaji dates to the same period (1776), though the idea to make a city on the location existed at least 40 years beforehand. The plan was designed by the infantry sergeant-major José Antas Machado and envisaged an orthogonal grid that should extend between two branches of the river perpendicular to the Mandovi, at the foot of an elevation to the south and southwest. All the central area was reclaimed and made regular; the banks were defined by a shoreline drive from northern Fontainhas to Saint Ines. The plan also envisaged a military-type square by the river, and a second square, the Pillory Square, behind the first one. All the important constructions were maintained, to which the new urban grid adjusted. The Rua Velha disappeared, as did the constructions flanking it. The fall of the Marquis of Pombal in 1777 and the lack of Lisbon’s willingness or power with respect to the local population and the Goa government, as well as continual debate around the problem of the new capital’s location, were certainly important factors contributing to abandonment of the plan for Panaji and also of the plans done at the same time for the old city of Goa. Thus, and given the general lack of definition, the public institutions’ move to Panaji took place very gradually. It was only in the second half of the 19th century that Manuel de Portugal e Castro (1826-35), the last Viceroy of India, undertook significant urbanisation work, showing that the capital’s move to Panaji was a decision of no return. Manuel de Portugal e Castro was responsible for most of the work to form terrain in the central part of Panaji, described in detail by Louzada Azevedo. He reclaimed the three large rice fields and two waterlines that crossed the centre of the city. To ensure adequate drainage he kept the Saint Ines creek and the creek by the Governor’s Palace, shoring up their banks by building walls; he also had landfills implemented by the shoreline drive. These channels were crossed by four bridges on the palace side and by two others on the Campal side. Although the latter had been converted into a public promenade, it was described as the city’s last large marsh. The two bridges that accessed the Campal, the Minerva or Alexandre Herculano Bridge (1829) and the Saint Ines or Campal Bridge, are still standing today. Once most of the landfills were completed, the early 1830s saw the laying out of squares and streets and the construction of buildings, outstanding among which was the Artillery Quarters. In 1842 most of the work was finished. Right next to the quarters, on Largo das Sete Janelas [Seven Windows Square], now Azad Maidan, the Afonso de Albuquerque Monument was begun in 1843, using materials from the old city of Goa, specifically Saint Dominic’s Convent. Its design is attributed to the public works inspector José da Costa Campos. After 1961 the statue of Afonso de Albuquerque was removed; the one seen nowadays is of Tristão de Bragança Cunha. In the following years Panaji continued to suffer from serious shortages and problems attracting people. Urbanisation attempts were constant; privileges were offered to those who built there, as once done in the old city. But it was the efforts of Manuel de Portugal e Castro that enabled Queen Maria III to create the city of Nova Goa [New Goa] in 1843 and raise it to the status of capital of Portuguese India. Nova Goa occupied the entire left bank of the Mandovi River from its mouth until Daugim. Panaji, where political and administrative offices were then centralised, was one of its districts. But urban development in detriment to the other two districts, Ribandar and Goa, led the capital to be indiscriminately designated Pangim [Panaji] or Nova Goa. The mid-19th century was marked by occasional interventions. Work to rearrange and improve health conditions in Fontainhas was under way. The start of the transformation is generally attributed to Governor Lopes Lima (1840-42), with work carried out on Rua 31 de Janeiro, which crossed the district lengthwise. In 1845 a chapel dedicated to Saint Thomas was built at the start of Rua de São Tomé, parallel to Rua 31 de Janeiro; it was later enlarged (1902). During the government of the Viscount of Vila Nova de Ourém (1851-55) a shoreline street separating the neighbourhood from the creek was created, designated until our days the Rua de Ourém. It was also during his government that the façade of the Fénix Fountain was built, thus promoting qualification of an area that was the natural continuation of Fontainhas. This fountain was described by Lopes Mendes as being more important than the Boca da Vaca [Cow Mouth] Fountain built by Manuel de Portugal e Castro in the city centre. The Count of Torres Novas (1855-64) continued the work in Fontainhas and was responsible for installing the City Council of the Goa Islands (1860) and defining the garden/square that extended in front and the delimiting streets. The arrangement around the Church of the Immaculate Conception, with the redefined staircase that framed the setting, was part of the same plan for the whole, which also encompassed the main cross-town axis known as the Corte do Outeiro. The city continued to grow westward along the existing streets and in the Fontainhas district, where growth was more accelerated. In December 1878, the same month that the agreement was signed between Portugal and Britain which led to construction of the railway, Caetano de Almeida e Albuquerque (1878-82) took office as governor-general with specific instructions from Lisbon to improve the capital’s health conditions. His mandate saw completion of most of the work on ‘modelling’ terrain in the city centre and along the Corte do Outeiro. Streets were opened, land filled and construction of the shoreline wall began. Particularly important was the work carried out in Fontainhas, which continued on into the new century, with the opening of various streets, among them: the Rua Central, now named after Luís de Menezes; completion of Rua de Ourém; the opening of Rua de São Sebastião (1881-87) and the consecration of Saint Sebastian’s Chapel in 1888, after the old one on the other side of the street was demolished. Plans were also made for the city’s first expansion area: Altinho. Conceived as a neighbourhood to house those displaced by improvement work under way in the city, it ended up being populated by wealthy Goan families and Portuguese civil servants, like Malabar Hill in Mumbai. The urbanisation progressed slowly; two buildings linked to the Church, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Serra Shelter, provided the impetus for building and consolidating the district. In the first decade of the 20th century, new expansion areas were planned. Construction of the Avenida de Circunvalação [Ring Road] linking Fontainhas to Taleigao and Saint Ines was undertaken with a view to urbanising all the heights south of Panaji. To the west, expansion was planned to Caranzalem. The only one of these areas that effectively made progress was Campal. The construction rules were quite rigid and included quality and building time controls. Its urbanisation was finished in the 1930s, unlike what was happening in the rest of the city. The Republic [in Portugal, 1910] brought on new plans and new expansions. In August 1911 committees were appointed to organise improvement plans for each of the territory’s cities, towns and villages. Probably in the wake of that work, a new plan for the capital was provisionally approved in 1921. It envisaged prolonging and enlarging Rua de Ourém, as well as a new neighbourhood on the east side of the city, now called Patto, for which an avenue was planned that would extend along the east bank of the Fontainhas creek. Some work at the Fontainhas creek was certainly begun shortly thereafter, since later plans show the creek’s banks very well defined and landfills made in the area. Period testimony indicates that in some city centre landfills the groundwater level was very high, making it difficult to construct buildings and leading to frequent new landfills in that area. On 11 January 1921 a major modification was made to the division of the city of Goa, although three districts were maintained: they became Panaji, Ribandar and Saint Ines. This marked the end of the legislative fiction created in 1843, and Old Goa was no longer an integral part of the Estado da Índia capital. Work at urban level continued, though at a slower pace. In the following years, attention focused on resolving the city’s infrastructure problems. Water supply, electricity and resolving the sewage problem were priorities of the Administrative Commission for Health and Urban Improvements in Nova Goa, created in 1929. India became independent in August 1947, definitively changing Portuguese policy regarding Goan territory. A few months beforehand, on 22 May 1947, it was established that the city’s administrative boundaries would be definitively set when its urbanisation plan was drawn up. The city was once again named Goa; its neighbourhoods included Santa Cruz, Mercês, Ribandar, Sé and Taleigao, and again included Old Goa. From 1950 to 1961 the city’s urban work centred on carrying out the respective master plan. The Regulamento de Urbanização da Cidade de Goa was approved and remained in force while the plan was not completed. It defined densities, separations and some construction principles. Detailed plans were made and many buildings designed, but most were never built. The city’s overall plan was likewise never finished. The author of the plan that guided Manuel de Portugal e Castro is unknown, or even if it was done during his government. But the Pombaline plan is believed to have been adopted with a pragmatic approach. The 1843 permit sustained that Goa’s administrative seat was not changing city but rather neighbourhood. This legislative fiction served to advance the transformation of Panaji, overcoming resistance to the move and the hesitations ever present in the city’s history. Despite the clear difficulty of consolidating the city’s urban layout, to which the fact that Goa’s population was predominantly rural contributed, the Portuguese always had major plans for the capital of the Estado da Índia, as demonstrated by the successive expansion plans.
Equipment and Infrastructures