Exploring this beautiful country from our algarvian winter home
Becky do you know anything about Villa Majuca Olhoa – we bought an apartment opposite it and are dying to find out about it.
Unfortunately nothing more than I shared in this post. Have you asked Jose at Vai e Volta? He may know.
PS and how exciting to have bought a place! Hope all is going well
Hi. I am actually one of the owners. I am in Olhão writing this. This was my grandparent’s house.
It actually was quite the wonderful history.
To put it succinctly, before there was a village in Olhão, there were fishermen’s settlements here because of spontaneous freshwater springs.
After the village was established, in the late 19th century, a gentleman from Vila Real de Santo António, António José Vieira, my great-great-great-grandfather, built in Olhão, where the city block where Villa Majuca now is, the 1st pottery and china factory in Algarve. They were supposedly pretty good! They made bricks too, and it turns out they built it around the 1st public, controlled “Olho de Água” (freshwater lens) in Olhão. It is still there in the backyard of the house! It turned briney around the 1970’s, so it fell out of use. Everyone used it back in those days, kind of like the one you find in the main Avenue.
His son, José Vieira, won the contract to build the markets (the two orange buildings) on the seafront. My aunt recalls how my great-grandma Gabriela used to get gifts from the sellers due to her father having built the markets.
Unfortunately, as is all too common in Portugal, the construction went overbudget, but instead of overcharging the city, he honorably completed the work at his own expense. That nearly bankrupted him.
Then, my great-grandfather, José Martins Xavier, how was town Mayor between 1941-1945, married my great-grandmother Gabriela and bought his in-laws’ estate, saving them from bankruptcy.
He late converted it into a canned fish processing plant. I actually just recently discovered some of the tin designs, that I never even knew about!
Around that time, the adjacent houses were built to provide lodging for the workers. That’s why the alley to the north of Villa Majuca is called “Pátio da Gabriela”, and the streets behind the Villa are called “Becos do Xavier”.
The factory changed names a few times, but it finally went out of business in the 60’s. It was later a boat building plant, then furniture, and finally, what remains of it today, is the garage you see to the South of the gate.
Everyone moved away from Olhão and after my grandmother passed away, no one really want there anymore.
It was trespassed and burglarized multiple times, ending with a comical act of vandalism when someone housed a couple of horses inside! In the living quarters! I hope they enjoyed it, though.
When I was little, I kinda enjoyed coming here in the summer, but to be honest, it was kind of falling apart already, some twenty or thirty years ago.
After my mom passed away July 2014, I decided that enough is enough and that this needed to be dealt with, and, along with my aunts, uncle, father and brother, we have been trying to make it right.
It seems like we are starting to feel the winds of change, even elsewhere in Olhão, so, hopefully soon, something beautiful will rise up there, whether it is a new construction or a renovated Villa.
Hope you enjoy your house in Olhão! It could like Venice if we all wanted it to!
P.s.: If you’re wondering why we haven’t just renovated it ourselves, the answer is simple: no money.
The rents barely pay the property tax and there are people paying less than 7€ worth of monthly rent. I personally feel that at least they have a roof over their head so it isn’t all bad.
If I won Euromillions, I would turn it into a school. Because the best way to help the future of Olhão is to help kids dream big and give them the tools to reach for those dreams….
And I am an Xavier that happens to love the X-Men comics… I can see it now: Professor Xavier (kidding!).
P.p.s.: For Miss Becky,
I was actually the one that met with Sam and Simon Mars, from MarsAlgarve. They were super, and I know that Sam posted on this topic of Villa Majuca before.
I’m doing what I can to make it right. Hopefully it won’t be long now that we put a new face (and heart!) on those historical buildings.
Sorry for the typos. Dumb autocorrect! This is what I get for being a Portuguese writing in English on a cellphone..
no worries, thank you so much for stopping by. Feliz nadal!
oh wow this is amazing, thank you so much for sharing so much, and my apologies for not replying before now
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