Past glory

Porto Travel Blog

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It is interesting just how much Porto looks like the old town of Guayaquil. I guess more correctly, Guayaquil looks like Porto, since the colonial architecture of South America obviously followed the motherland, even if I visited the colonies first. But more than the architecture, there is another aspect of the city that feels the same, a look of fallen grandeur, a city which once was a world powerhouse, only to decline in importance and size over the ages. It is interesting the influence this has over a city's architecture – cities with constant success, like London or Paris, are constantly growing and rewriting their architectural history. They become a mosaic, with small patches of the city reflecting different periods of growth. Other cities reach their pinnacle and then stop growing. There is no need to build over the old parts of the city, so the city becomes preserved as a single architectural unit reflecting the dominant style at the peak. For the cities at their peak during the conquest of the new world, they actively retracted in size with the loss of the colonies. This explains the state of slight decay of all the beautiful old buildings, after the city no longer had the resources to even preserve what it once build, let alone expand on it. So you get poor families living in the most beautiful but run down areas, old clothes hanging out of the windows to dry, amazing facades but no flooring left.

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photo by: alexandra_h