Saturday, 2 November 2013

Why were houses in Brazilian town Porto Seguro restricted to a max of two floors? And what does Beyoncé has to do with it?

When I was landing in Porto Seguro, Brazil for the first time, the breathtaking traditional skyline captured my attention from the first few seconds. What most impressed me, was the sight of the church that one could see from almost everywhere, even the big supermarkets and shopping centres were not obtrusing its sight. 

Porto Seguro Skyline - with its church right in the middle near the harbour and sea

Let's play a little quizz game and see if you guess right concerning the reasons for this fascinating fact:
A) The church was being used in times of heavy flooding, the roofs of the houses were connected in a way that one could reach the church from whatever borough you lived in by climbing onto the houses and getting to the meeting and rescue point which was the church near the harbour. The church was built higher so that everyone could see it from far and orient himself easier when trying to reach it.

B) In earlier times the town's church was used as a Guardian tower and therefore, it was necessary that it was the highest building so that one could see, search and find enemies or criminals from the top without obtrusing views through other houses.

C) The church had to be the highest building in town as an honour to God with nobody trying to get "higher" than him. 

Original church in the Cidade Histórica
Unfortunately I do not have the right answer for you, I invented all three options myself. (In case one knows the right answer, do let me know in the comments.) The only real and clear information one finds on the web (and through asking locals) is that the two-storey buildings with the only exception being the three-storey church are leading back to national historical patrimony and until a few years ago, it was forbidden to build houses with more than two floors. This rule has now been loosened as far as I remember, so you do get permission now I believe - probably as long as your property is not too close to the town centre or more important, the cidade histórica (old city) and its historical church.

The actual Guardian Tower of the historical city

Oh, as rumours go, I really had to mention this one :D (Not sure if this is true, so no guarantees on truth here!) In case Beyoncé wants to buy another house in Brazil's birthcity, she can probably now get a three-storey house in Porto Seguro in addition to her mansion in nearby Trancoso ;)... 

You cannot blame her... beautiful beaches and many quiet spots... pleasant climate... everyday sunshine... pretty much a smallville throughout the whole year while being THE touristic town attraction with crazy Carnival in Brazil by far... tourists 95% Brazilians so privacy for international stars is probably much better than in other rather famous Brazilian cities.... Porto Seguro's official airport and inofficial private jet plane airport in Trancoso... So resuming: best of nature and best of urban conveniences! 

Here a few links to articles with pictures that I just found on the Brazilian net about Beyoncé in Trancoso:

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