Manueline or Gustave Eiffel, Contrasts in Maputo.

The White Cathedral (Nossa Senhora da Conceição)  is just off of Independence Square.  To me it looks Art Deco but we are told it has some touches of Manueline decorative style.  Manueline is named for King Manuel I who died in 1521 and is a Portuguese style from the 16th century that mixes late Gothic, and early Renaissance with some Moorish touches.  It incorporates nautical motifs (chains, ropes, anchors, spheres), sea elements (pearls, seaweed, shells), themes from nature, and religious symbols in its decoration, especially around portals.  It uses semicircular arches rather than pointed Gothic arches and involves filigree work.  The decorative style had its heyday in the 1500s, well before any existing buildings in Maputo were built.  Let’s say the cathedral may have some Manueline Revival, touches.

I see more Manueline revival in the mosque that is downtown.

If you want to see more of this style you can look at the main portal to the botanical gardens linked here.

Other sites include the Maputo fortress, or more properly “Praça Nossa Senhora da Conceição.”  It was originally sited by the Dutch but the present fort was built by the Portuguese.  The current fort was built in the 1700s.  Before the Congress of Berlin, which divided Africa among the European Colonial Powers, in the late 19th century the fort was attacked by Dutch, British and French forces.  The relief monuments on the walls depict the arrest of the native leader, Ngungunyana, by the Portuguese in 1895.

The Iron House was designed by Gustave Eiffel as a pre-fabricated home for the colonial governor.  It didn’t work very well in Maputo’s sub-tropical climate (technically Maputo is in the temperate zone, kind of like Miami in in the temperate zone.)  It was too hot for the governor to live in.  It was passed from ministry to ministry.  No one wants to live or work in this oven like structure, but it is of too great an historic value to get rid of.  It looks from the sign that the ministry of tourism has taken it over.  I also see several air conditioner compressors hanging on the outside.

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