top of page

O Cubismo…….in Olhão: Architecture or Whores?

Vila Cubista de Olhão

Olhão Vila Cubista

In 2018 an impressive exhibition on Cubism took place in the Center Pompidou in Paris as a tribute to the two inventors Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Cubism is a movement within modern art at the beginning of the 20th century and reached its top between 1906 and 1920. With the painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Picasso definitively established a path for Cubism in painting. The canvas shows five prostitutes, whose bodies he stilled into geometric shapes.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon & Cubist impressions of Olhão

Olhão, due to its unique North African-style architecture, often consisting of white houses with flat roofs and a smaller rectangular structure (called a mirant), which can be reached via an external staircase, has been known for years as the “Cubist City”. It probably all has to do with the trade that has always been conducted with North African cities and the exchange of residents.

The name for Olhao as “Vila Cubista” is first mentioned in 1925 in the book “Deus Pan” by José Dias Sancho. It is an architecture that can not only be found in the oldest neighborhoods of Levante and Baretta, left and located on the right in front of the two striking market halls, but also in newer neighborhoods such as Bairro do Mundo Novo.

Nowhere in Portugal (except in Fuzeta) this cubist architecture is so dominantly represented in the cityscape as in Olhão. You should see the city in the last or beginning sunlight try to look from a higher place in order to be able to view the magnificent cubist play of flat roofs with superstructures (mirants and contra-mirants), stairs and typical chimneys in full glory. Even in the architectural policy of the Estado Novo of dictator Salazar, led by Minister Duarte Pacheco, who came from Loulé and was greatly honored there, recognized Olhão's cubism style. And so Olhão was allowed to deviate from the standard buildings designed by state architect Raul Lino with hipped roofs with tiles. An adapted school with flat roofs has therefore been specially designed for Olhão, in keeping with the cubist character of Olhão and the adjacent Bairro de Pescadores.

Escola Primaria (primary school) specially designed for Olhão

The cubism in Olhão must therefore be in the architecture and not in the similarity with Picasso's painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. According to the column about Olhão in the Volkskrant by the Algarve-based Dutch writer and journalist Arthur van Amerongen, in which, in addition to a lyrical summary of Olhão's qualities, he also refers to the rumor that Olhão would have been the "whore capital" from the Algarve for years.


Uitgelichte berichten
Recente berichten
Zoeken op tags
Volg ons
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page