21 Oct 2021
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Historical Framing - Santa Maria Print E-mail
The Archipelago was discovered in 1419, and in 1425 the settlement of Madeira began.
The first area of the future City of Funchal was Santa Maria, which developed from the Church of Santa Maria do Calhau located by the river with the same name. Spreading parallel to the sea, the first street of the settlement ends in Cabo do Calhau, where the small chapel for the fishermen was built, the Chapel of Corpo Santo.
Funchal Plants

Funchal 1775

Funchal Plant - 1775

Funchal Plant

Funchal Plant

Some secondary streets cross this one, connecting farming lands to the sea. It follows the medieval model where the Church and its Square play the role of commercial and social nucleus. Here begins the High Street.
The first inhabitants of the settlement were mostly craftsmen, who lived in one-storey houses with thatched roofs.
As time went by multi-storey houses were built and in 1477 a building was donated to the street Boa Viagem to be used for charity work (Misericórdia). Its banisters in local grey stone and in Manueline style are the most interesting to have survived to this date.
This area has also preserved its urban lines, the Chapel of Corpo Santo and a small Manueline door.
The city developed towards the west, where the rich sugar merchants settled. The main centre of the town moved to the Cathedral area.
The consolidation of Santa Maria area developed between the 17th and 18th centuries.
The fortification of the town due to the corsairs' and Turkish attacks as well as Moorish piracy would mark the architecture of the City.
Fortress of S. Pedro and Funchal Bay
Fortress of S. Pedro Funchal Bay

In the area of Santa Maria, the wall developed by the sea, from the river to the Fort of S. Pedro following the fortress of S. Tiago. Part of the wall and the path of the Guard still guide the alignment of small annexed houses.
The group of classified buildings consists of small scale buildings, but very interesting in architectural terms, with triple guillotine windows, 'fornos', 'balcões' and balconies with grey stone.
The 19th and 20th centuries isolated the area even more. Several projects proposed the destruction of most houses, among them some public buildings like the market and the school. The lack of economical attraction to the area caused the lack of rejuvenation of buildings.
Towards the end of the seventies, a small centre of bars and restaurants were established around the Chapel of Corpo Santo and managed to attract the population to the area. The Old Town became fashionable for some years. However, later was again replaced by other more central places. Nevertheless, it became known and its preservation gained interest.

About Historical Area of Santa Maria



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