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About manhole covers in Chandigarh & Le Corbusier and a walk through the city of Olhão

In Chandigarh, the city designed by famous French architect Le Corbusier in the 1950s, money is literally on the streets. Le Corbusier, who was designing this new city in India down to the smallest detail, even went so far as to provide the design for the manhole covers in the streets of Chandigarh. After that a copy was offered for auction in the Parisian Laffanour gallery in 2014 and sold for almost €15,000,- there was a real rush on these cast-iron street decorations. It was even dangerous to drive through the city of Chandigarh at night, because you could simply get stuck in a hole in the road, where the manhole cover had been removed by an “collector.” ”Fortunately, there are still about 2,224 specimens left in the city, which the heritage department wants to protect through increased supervision.


Ever since the story about the manhole covers in Chandigarh, whenever I visit a new city, I always look down with great interest to see if there are any special specimens among the cast manhole covers in the streets. This also happened on one of the walks through my new habitat of Olhão in the Algarve in Portugal. What is particularly striking is the large number and variety of sizes of manhole covers and other infrastructure closures that can be found in the streets. Especially the ones with beautiful geometric motifs - probably due to the earlier Moorish culture - and with clear texts such as “C.M.O., Saniamente Pluvial", “Esgotos” and “Aguas Pluviais”, are among the beautifully cast cast iron specimens. Below is a photo selection from what I discovered after a tour around our apartmentblock on the edge of the city.


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