The city on foot

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One of Ma­puto’s trea­sures is the in­domitable Jane Flood, whose en­thu­si­as­tic walk­ing tours of the city can be dis­cov­ered on her Face­book page, Ma­puto a Pé. In par­tic­u­lar, the tours ex­plore the city’s unique ar­chi­tec­tural her­itage. Th­ese are some of our faves:

TROP­I­CAL MODERNISM

While Europe was re­cov­er­ing from Word War 2, Mozam­bique and An­gola had an in­flux of funds ill-got­ten from Por­tu­gal´s neu­tral po­si­tion. Many who sought to escape the con­ser­va­tive regime in Por­tu­gal came to Ma­puto to dis­cover the joys of the Paris of Africa.

So João Tinoco and José For­jaz and home-grown Pan­cho Guedes en­joyed the free­dom to shape the city, orig­i­nally un­der Mesquita, the city en­gi­neer. At first, the weath­ered con­crete and dated forms of trop­i­cal mod­ern build­ings make lit­tle im­pres­sion on a visi­tor. Yet, as the eye dis­cov­ers the his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance of this ver­nac­u­lar, seem­ingly ugly, mul­ti­storey build­ings be­come ever more beau­ti­ful.

What’s cu­ri­ous is that this style of ar­chi­tec­ture is most prom­i­nent in Brazil’s metropoles and in parts of Joburg like Hill­brow. El­e­ments to look out for in­clude the brise soleil with dra­matic can­tilever ef­fects. Other equally cap­ti­vat­ing ex­am­ples in­clude the Moz Bank near Café Con­ti­nen­tal, Pre­dio Abreu, San­tos e Rocha fac­ing the sta­tion and Polana Mar, all a stone’s throw away from the fa­mous Polana Ho­tel.

ART SA­FARI

This walk gives you a crash course in the best of Mozam­bi­can art, ac­cess to artists’ stu­dios like Gonçalo Mabunda – rep­re­sented by Ti­lan­dia Gallery, which has an ex­ten­sive se­lec­tion of Malan­gatana Ng­wenyas and other con­tem­po­rary artists’ pieces such as Vic­tor Sousa and Butcheca. Catch up with the cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tions. The mu­rals of Naguib and other dec­o­ra­tions on house fronts pro­vide art lovers with the rare op­por­tu­nity to see Makonde wood carvers at work.

By spe­cial ar­range­ment, you can find your­self sur­rounded by the ex­pres­sive pieces of younger, up­com­ing artists at the Fabo Gallery at Ed­uardo Mond­lane Univer­sity. For a rea­son­able fee, trav­ellers and lo­cals alike can visit sculp­tor Pekiwa.

The sculp­ture gar­den is a glimpse of magic, and visi­tors can have a de­li­cious lunch while en­joy­ing the grace and beauty of salt flats and flamin­gos.

MODERNISM A Pan­cho Guedes build­ing seen dur­ing an ar­chi­tec­ture tour

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