The Watch

Porangatu Historic District

Porangatu, Brazil

2008 World Monuments Watch

Founded in the eighteenth century, the historic center of Porangatu—once known as Arraial do Descoberto da Piedade—is a prime example of both a way of life and an historic form of urban development. Located in a remote region of central Brazil, which was largely inhabited by indigenous Tupe people when the Portuguese colonized the country, Porangatu is characterized by low-rise buildings with numerous portals built around a central plaza. While the historic center retains some of its traditional architecture, inappropriate additions have disfigured a number of buildings. A growth in industry in recent decades has attracted migrant workers, who have begun to move into the area, appropriating historic structures for temporary living quarters. The pending construction of the Norte Sul (North-South) Railroad will bring an even greater migrant-worker population to the area, as the construction of the BR53 highway did in the 1960s, and put further pressure on the already stressed urban fabric of this historic district. Last update: 2008

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