List of all SquaresActivitiesDocumentationClassificationEvaluationPsychogeographyNetworkWho We AreContact Us  
Psychogeographical Portrait ... 26 ... Funchal City Centre, Madeira, Portugal  
  lastovo, jurjeva lukalastovofunchal  
             
  City was settled in 1424
and over time become
very important port
  Funchal with its 111 000 inhabitants is largest city and capital of the autonomous region of Island of Madeira, close to the western shores of Africa. City was settled in 1424 and over time become very important port for further around the world explorations. In 15th century it flourished as a centre of Sugar Industry being fertile ground for growing sugar cane.

Later wine culture took over and to this day Madeira is important wine production region.

     
             
  Funchal, Madeira, Portugal Funchal, Madeira, Portugal Funchal, Madeira, Portugal  
           
    Largo do Shafariz, starting point of this multiple days psychogeographical walk performed in April 2019, is in very hearth of Funchal.

Narrow streets are connecting this space to the main trough fare, Avenida Arriaga/Rua do Aljube, true the mainly pedestrianized city centre. Bank building, with its tower, is competing for attraction with the tower of the nearby cathedral.

  Our favourite observational
spot, almost every night
 
             
  Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, map  
             
  Name Shafariz, meaning fountain, is explaining the importance of drinking water in the cities in the past   Name Shafariz, meaning fountain, is explaining the importance of drinking water in the cities in the past. Several of them were usually dispersed on the more important squares throughout the cities. One of them is located on Praça do Municipio the other square visited that will be mentioned later in this text.

Over the time we spent overlooking the square from the apartment on the first floor of most attractive building on this square we observed how important this space is in the life of the city. To complete our impression with this city we made portrait of Funchal.

Theater performances, church walkouts, regular feeding of the pigeons, is interchanging space with constant flow of tourists when cruise ships are in the harbour. Couple of benches under both trees on the square were constantly occupied, by visitors during the day, or locals later in the evening. Since it was picking up Wi-Fi signal from our apartment it was also our favourite observational spot, almost every night.

     
             
  funchal  
             
      Just few steps south toward the ocean is another of our favourite spots. What is the name of this square? No street plate anywhere to let us know. Locals are calling it Praça Amarela meaning Yellow Square, referring to the colour of majority of the houses on the square. Later we found out that official name is Praça Cristovao Colombo, that was living on the Madeira for some time. In my opinion it will be more appropriate to be called Praça João Esmeraldo, name of one of the streets bordering the square. Three quarters of the square was location where once stood the Manueline Casa de João Esmeraldo – Flemish who settled in Madeira at the end of the fifteenth century to produce and trade Sugar.

Archaeological excavations in 1989 have uncovered a large and important testimonies from the estate and everyday life between the sixteenth and seventeenth century.

New Museum “The City of Sugar” is in the basement of newly erected building, housing municipal offices. The exhibition combines two aspects, the findings from the excavations in the old houses of João Esmeraldo and artistic heritage and built, reflecting the economic power of the Sugar Cycle. Museum is dedicated to the memory of the golden period of the Sugar production on the island of Madeira, highlighting its cultural influences, Portuguese pottery, rare set of Manueline measures and coins of the reign of King Afonso V.

Beside this building there is also Municipal Court here cleverly designed with 5 stories "tower" hidden in the background. Middle of the square where "Cidade do Funchal" is written out of traditional Portuguese black and white stones, in a same way as any other paving in the whole city. Is it marking, most probably geographical center of the city?

  It will be more
appropriate to be called
Praça João Esmeraldo
 
             
  Funchal, Madeira Funchal, Madeira Funchal, Madeira
 
             
  "Learning English is not
Fake News”, facility to
learn English is using
Trump’s image as
an illustration
  Two excellent eateries, Well.com and Tea House are also taking its place on the Praça Amarela together with third restaurant Caffè do Praça taking space in the open area in the centre. One more interesting space is on the south side, place to learn English. They are using quite interesting slogan to attract students: “Learning English is not Fake News”, using Trump’s image as an illustration. Side street is where Anabel will help you find all the necessary info or rent-a-car in “Go Local Madeira” agency.

Down the road is another connected Square, this one having name, Largo dos Varadouros, hosting Portas de Cidade [Gate to the City] together with the entrance to the main building of the city Police. This newly created square is lacking some historical authenticity but it is quite well designed and extremely well used by both locals and visitors, like us.

Few more steps further toward the ocean and you are on the square of the square [Largo do Praça] Words Largo and Praça are both meaning urban square in Portuguese, what a puzzle?

     
             
  Funchal, Madeira Funchal, Madeira Funchal, Madeira
 
             
      Time is now to turn to the left and cross The River, most of the time quite small but occasionally after hard rainfall becoming very huge. In the past, before regulation, it was endangering the whole city. Look down from any of the bridges, quite a wild life down there!      
             
   
             
      Praca do Carmo is certainly a nice little square in which to relax, with some lovely examples of 18th century architecture, and several small restaurants and cafes where you can grab a coffee, bite to eat, and mix with the locals.

Palácio dos Cônsules, a large three-storey rectangular baroque palace built in the 17th century is half hidden. The ground floor includes shops and services, including the Juvenile Court of Funchal, on other two floors. If you don't know what you are looking for you can easily miss it.

Most interesting, in my opinion, is contemporary apartment building along one side of the whole square, paintied in bright pink [favourite colour of my granddaughter] probaly to mach the Palácio dos Cônsules on the opposing side and contrasting old structures along the same side, some of them obviously in bad shape. Colonnades, not very usual sight in Funchal, are providing protection from sun and rain, but also somewhat expanding square itself.

Motorized traffic is only allowed on the very narrow street on the north side, but surprisingly some motor vehicles are parked on the square?

Square is quite unusual, it looks like leftover space from some revitalization project. Being hidden, not connected with main tourists routes true the city, is making it almost secretive. I'll try to find more info about this space on municipal or urban planning websites.

Evenings in few of the restaurants taking almost all of the available space of the Praça do Carmo, might be very pleasant.

  Palácio dos Cônsules,
a large three-storey
rectangular baroque palace
built in the 17th century
is half hidden
 
             
   
             
  Praça do Municipio is
one of the most important
in the historical center
  Turning back towards the centre and crossing again the river we are approaching Praça do Municipio, one of the most important in the historical center. There are beautiful buildings, 18th century Town Hall [Municipio], the Church of Saint John the Evangelist (17th century), the Museum of Sacred Art located in the Episcopal Palace (16th century) and the old Jesuits' College of Funchal, now the University of Madeira's rectory.

In the center of the square there is a fountain [shafariz] dating from 1942.

We enter the courtyard of the Town Hall and found fountain decorated with a marble statue of "Leda and the Swan", work of Germano José Salles. Whole interior landscaped yard is coated with Batisttini tiles executed at the Maria de Portugal Factory in 1940.

This building was commissioned in 1758 by the Count of Carvalhal Esmeraldo to be his residence, and then passed through several owners and tenants. In 1883 it was acquired by the Funchal Municipal Council to serve as Town Hall, due to the development of the city, which forced the authorities to look for a larger place to hold its headquarters.

The building has undergone adaptations and changes over the years, but kept it's original architecture. This palace is a harmonious example of late 18th century architecture, . Interesting detail is kiosk, modern temporary space for some municipal office, very skillfully incorporated in the historic environment.

     
             
   
             
      This historic, ceremonial space is place where numerous public events are held, most famous one during the Christmas. We were trying to pass true this square every day, admiring vistas towards the hills surrounding Funchal with different weather conditions and time of day. Whole square is covered with attractive traditional Portuguese black and white stones with pattern occasionally broken by red flowers falling from the mature trees.

Other place that we frequently visited is Museu Cafe [behind the Museu de Arte Sancta] with wonderful quiet patio and excellent food.

  This historic, ceremonial
space is place where numerous public events
are held
 
             
   
             
      We took a stroll towards Agenda Arriaga true the Jardim Municipal do Funchal. What a wonderful experience, day or night.

Another exciting and surprisingly pleasant space we found when we were in the Dona Mecia Coffee place [looking for best Pastel de Nata in Funchal]. While there we noticed that lot of people were just passing true the patio and disappearing somewhere in the background. Being us we of course decided to explore where they were going.

     
             
   
             
  Space is very attractive,
quite pleasant to spent
some tim
  Following them we found one quite extraordinary space. It was developed behind ACIF building facing Avenida Arriaga. Official name of this square/court yard is Praça ACIF – Associação Do Comércio E Indústria Do Funchal.

ACIF – Associação Do Comércio E Indústria Do Funchal – is a non-profit private legal entity which, as a business association, represents the companies that carry out their activity in the areas of Commerce and Services, Industry and Tourism, (trade 42%, services 29%, tourism 18%, industry 11%). As the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, its responsibilities are broadened, requiring more general interventions at regional level.

Space is very attractive, quite pleasant to spent some time there or just in the evening enjoy sounds coming from the yard of small Presbyterian Church where regular concerts are held.

     
             
   
             
      Even just passing to make shortcut to the streets behind is recommendable. Exit or entrance to this placa to/from Avenida Arriaga is totally unrecognizable. This avenue, main Funchal, mostly pedestrian, street, is extremely lively and attractive directly connecting our starting point, Largo do Shafariz, to our end stop, of course just for this walk, Parque de Santa Catarina.      
             
   
             
      This park deserves its own story, it is so full of unexpected sights [at least for us spending our lives somewhere over the ocean]. We kept returning to it daily just for refreshing pleasure of vistas over the ocean, sound of water or fresh smell of greenery and flowers around.      
             
   
             
      But far the best experience in the city of Funchal, and for that matter all over the island, is interaction with extremely friendly and hospitable people, ready to except you in sharing their unforgettable city.      
             
   
             
   
             
  16 Ville du Quebec, underpass street art ~ 27 Nicholas Lane, Toronto - February 2020
21 Praça des Flores, Lisbon, Portugal. March 2017 ~ 24 Sarajevo - Bascarsija, September 2018
 
           
  .....................  
           
  urban squares urbansquares copyright initiative is licensed under a creative commons attribution-share alike 2.5 canada license.  
             
List of all SquaresActivitiesDocumentationClassificationEvaluationPsychogeographyNetworkWho We AreContact Us