Goa goes back many Centuries in History and was once the Rome of the East! A Legacy of this Vibrant Past is Fontainhas – Asia’s only Latin Quarter. Located in Goa’s Capital City of Panaji, Fontainhas nestles between the Ourem Creek to the East and the Altinho Hillock to the West. With its narrow winding streets, quaintby lanes and old heritage homes Fontainhas is a Veritable Ride Down Memory Lane.
Originally a mangrove swamp, it was reclaimed to a coconut plantation, it was owned by Antonio Joao De Sequeira. Between 1810-1839, with the rapid deterioration in sanitary conditions the grand city of Goa Velha (Old Goa) was subject to a succession of plagues resulting in offices from the old capital being shifted to Panjim causing Fontainhas to urbanize rapidly & haphazardly. The mushrooming of this quaint residential settlement was spurred on by the existence of a cow shaped spring known asBoca de Vaca at the bottom of the Altinho. A small [pool in basalt stone was built around the spring, which in time came to be called “Fontainhas” owing to the presence of perennial water.
The Government declared Fontainhas a Conservation area in 1984. With its quaint winding alleys, narrow bye-lanes and Indo Portuguese Architecture, Fontainhas has a Character of its own. Each aging structure has their own story to tell about nostalgia, a romantic era long gone by. Structures and homes go back to the 18th century. The facades, painted in the traditional colours – ochre, maroon and indigo. These colours were most common during the Portuguese regime and, not forgetting the rounded artistic corners and cornices, with window panes of flat oyster shells and roofs of Mangalore tiles.
The Fontainhas area is styled as “the Catholic Latin Quarter” of the capital city while Mala which it extends into may be called as the Hindu residential area. The precinct in its entirety may be classified as a perfect example of communal harmony since its inception. Some of the striking features of Fontainhas are the St Sebastian Chapel, The Panjim Peoples and& the Maruti temple.