The patios of Latin America - long version - StudySpanish.com

Courtyards of Latin America

You have passed a wonderful morning on a walking tour of Latin American town, perusing the craft shops, poking around the open air markets, and sampling a bit of the local cuisine. You are getting tired and need to escape the chaos of the streets, in order to absorb and reflect on your new experiences. Although the public places are nice, you know you will be approached by various people wanting to sell you something or just talk. So, you head to the nearest museum, church, or municipal complex knowing you will find courtyards that are restful, quiet, and sparsely populated.

These courtyards are usually surrounded by high brick walls, greatly reducing street noise as well as curtailing foot traffic. Many of these enclosed areas are landscaped with small trees, shrubs and flowering plants and frequently there are clean public restrooms. Bubbling fountains provide a pleasing aural background, and benches are strategically placed to take advantage of the sun or shade. Many places in Latin America have a perfect climate for courtyard life, and perhaps the prevalence of courtyards is greater than in austere climates.

But courtyards are found in many parts of the world, probably because they fulfill the universal desire for privacy, security, and contact with nature. Houses originally had a cooking fire indoors that were vented by a hole in the roof. Over time, the hole evolved into a small central open space, and the purpose of the space expanded beyond cooking to include sleeping, gardening and relaxing with family and friends.

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The patios of Latin America

You've spent a wonderful morning touring a Latin American town on foot. You've examined the craft shops, nosed around the open-air markets, and sampled some of the local cuisine. Now you are getting tired and you need to escape the chaos of the street to absorb and consider your new experiences. Although the public squares are pleasant, you know that you will be approached by people who want to sell you something or just talk. This is why you go to a museum, church or nearby municipal complex, knowing that you will find quiet, quiet and little frequented courtyards.

These courtyards are generally surrounded by high brick walls that limit the noise of the street and reduce pedestrian traffic. Many of these closed areas grow small trees, shrubs and flowering plants, and often have clean public restrooms. Bubbling fountains provide a pleasant listening environment, and there are benches strategically placed to take advantage of the sun or shade. There you can sit and rest while watching the butterflies and birds that fly through the vegetation.

The climate of many places in Latin America is perfect to enjoy the patios, and perhaps its preponderance here is greater than in more austere climates. But patios are found in many parts of the world, probably because they satisfy the universal desire for privacy, security, and contact with nature. The houses originally had a cooking fire, ventilated by a hole in the ceiling. Over time, the hole evolved into a small central open space. The purpose of the space was extended to sleep, to practice the horticulture and to rest with relatives and friends.

  • Adam Floyd