What Is a Hacienda? Everything and Even More Hacienda Style Architecture

mexico style homes

There are many styles in the construction of residential, private houses, popular in different countries of the world. These can be both exotic and more familiar to us structures. But today we invite you to find out what is a hacienda and what are the features of the hacienda style house. You won't regret it, this style definitely deserves your attention!

Hacienda History

What is a Spanish house called “Hacienda”? However, the real Haciendas are of true Spanish origin, it is spread around America too. This is a large estate outside the city, on the private territory. Such Spanish hacienda architecture was used mainly by farmers who had many large plantations, and they needed spacious houses for families and workers. This is why hacienda is the Spanish equivalent of a functional American ranch. Have you noticed the similarity?

In South America, they were originally created during the so-called era of discovery, when Spain was diligently conquering the New World. Allocating large tracts of land, members of the Spanish nobility (called patrons) set about building huge mansions in spanish hacienda style that were completely grandiose and built to impress.

These were comparable to large estates in North America, where wealthy white farmers and poor black slaves worked throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. As slaves, but their use could definitely be called forced labor in today's terms.

The owners of the Mexico-style homes were mainly engaged in cattle breeding, local Indians were hired to work for them, who in a short time were driven into debt and found themselves in a new form of slavery called peonage, that is, hereditary debtors.

Haciendas in Mexican architectural styles are known by a few different names depending on the country. In Argentina, they are more popularly known as estancias, a term which seems to be gaining popularity in America as well, to denote a traditional Mexican architecture dating back 2 to 300 years ago.

The materials for the hacienda architecture of those times are natural stone and wood. High ceilings with wooden beams. There are almost no doors, there are arched openings, balconies, closed courtyards, often with a small fountain and Mexican haciendas floor plans, all these are characteristic features of hacienda-style houses. Such houses were made for centuries, and since historically the hacienda has Spanish roots, the Spanish style is clearly visible in the interior.

You can find some geographic differences in hacienda-style homes around the world, but many have retained the original elements. Some characteristics of the hacienda architecture include the following:

Features of the Traditional Hacienda

what is a hacienda
  • Tile roofing. One of the most recognizable characteristics of hacienda-style home’s exterior is a low roof with tiles made of red clay or, more often than not, different shades of red, but always handcrafted. The tiles are shaped like half a pipe, so they can trap cold air and release it into the house. Since clay roofs are susceptible to leaks, they are best suited for warm, dry environments where you will find hacienda architecture. Such a roof of the house reliably protects from the scorching sun rays, which is very important for a hot climate.
  • Walls. In traditional hacienda houses, there have always been thick adobe walls finished with white plaster. In addition to being an easily accessible building material, the thick white walls are ideal for hot and sunny climates. On sunny days, the walls can keep the air cool. At night, they slowly release the heat absorbed by the sun into the house. Simple and minimalistic plastered walls. No modern decor. Plaster and paint, most often white, light shades of yellow, ocher, or brown.
  • Arched entrance doors. While hacienda-style homes tend to have very simple exteriors with little or no decor, arches add a classy architectural element. They are commonly used in open corridors or hacienda yards. The door itself may be ordinary, but above it, there is always a beautiful arch, neatly laid out of bricks.
  • Cozy courtyard. It can be internal, surrounded by walls on all sides. In this case, there are always several entrance groups in the house. But the courtyard can also be located behind the house if it is in its usual form. In such a corner of the site, an outdoor recreation area is always provided. By the way, hacienda style homes with courtyards are a tradition.
  • Hacienda most often one-, maximum two-story, but spacious, large area.
  • Courtyards in Mexican colonial houses and paths are paved with tiles, often terracotta, metlakh, and cotto tiles are used. Less commonly, exclusively for decoration, Moroccan zellige tiles can be used.
  • There is a lot of green in the courtyards, but the landscaping is simple, without sophistication and strict regular gardens.
  • A fountain becomes a frequent addition of hacienda decor to the recreation area.
  • The windows are relatively small, with shutters or external blinds, which also serve as protection from sun rays.

Modern Houses

Now hacienda are housing the wealthy part of the population of Mexico, Spain, or famous hotels. Tourists often find in them a reflection of old Spanish or Mexican TV series.

But true connoisseurs of this style also build their homes in a traditional Mexican house style, following all the rules in the exterior and interior.

Many haciendas throughout Latin America have experienced revolutions, independence, economic crises, and all sorts of political and social upheavals. Over the past two decades, many other cities have been turned into the most impressive tourist accommodation options, and manors have been restored to their opulent splendor. Some, such as mexican ranch house stunning La Chonita, which dates back to the early 1800s, still produce sugarcane and cocoa while building a hostel and offering guests a variety of tours and activities in the countryside.

Staying in a historical Mexican style architecture like hacienda means delving into thousands of years of history and understanding of the local population during the colonial era and up to the present day.

Where To Find Hacienda Style Houses?

Because clay walls and clay tiles are best for warm, sunny environments, you will often find the hacienda-style interior designs in the American Southwest, especially in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as California and Florida.

Top Best Hacienda in Latin America for Travel

If this style is close to you, and you are planning a trip, we would be happy to advise you on the incredible traditional Mexican houses called “hacienda” in Latin America.

There is a wide choice for a unique stay. All options offer extra horse riding, cooking classes, trekking, and more.

San Agustin de Callo, Ecuador

traditional mexican house

It is situated at the foot of Cotopaxi Mountain, this boutique hotel in hacienda design is one of the top travel choices. San Agustin has over 400 years of history with an amazing location in the heart of Cotopaxi National Park, just an hour's drive from the capital of Quito. On-site, you can see 15th-century Inca ruins and elegantly decorated rooms built around the remains of ancient Inca walls. San Agustin de Callo is a combination of luxury and the ancient world. The food will also delight you and delight your taste buds, and with a breathtaking view of Cotopaxi from all sides of the magnificent gardens, a few days in San Agustin de Callo can provide the most pleasant emotions.

Los Lingues, Chile

spanish hacienda style

This building is located in the Maipo Valley, at the foot of the Andes. In addition, this oldest hacienda is also the winery Los Lingues. After a major renovation due to the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, Los Linges has become even more magnificent, with all the antiques in mexican hacienda decor that have kept it as a Mecca for the country. Hacienda has been restored since the 17th century, with the help of specialist architects, to ensure that the design matches the original architecture. Priceless antiques adorn every room of the mansion, from Peruvian fighting roosters carved in silver, to an ivory statue of Christ and amazing handcrafted Mapuche jewelry, this is one of those boutique hotels that can be easily converted into a museum. Los Lingues offers a hacienda in which you will completely immerse yourself in relaxation and an atmosphere of excellence.

Estancia Candelaria del Monte, Argentina

traditional mexican houses

For a taste of luxury living, just an hour's drive from Buenos Aires, you can drive past this hacienda in Argentina's San Miguel del Monte region and stop there for a while. The popular rural area of ​​San Miguel is one of those pockets of natural splendor usually only seen on postcards. Gourmet food, luxurious amenities, stunning scenery, and a gorgeous swimming pool are all designed to steal your senses and hold them, hostage, forever. This is exactly the hacienda stay you need.

We are confident that once you get to know and define haciendas style, you will definitely want to add hacienda-style architecture to your wishlist, so feel free to visit the famous hacienda and add a great taste of history and culture to your life.

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