Top Ten Cape Verdean Attractions

Top Ten Cape Verdean Attractions

       The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 km off the coast of Western Africa. The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square km (1,500 sq mi), are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are generally rockier and have more vegetation. However, because of the infrequent occurrence of rainfall the overall landscape is not particularly green; despite what the country’s name suggests. The name of the country stems instead from the nearby Cap Vert, on the Senegalese coast, which in its turn was originally named “Cabo Verde” when it was sighted by Portuguese explorers in 1444, a few years before the islands were discovered. The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th Century, and became an important location in the Atlantic slave trade due to their geographically advantageous position. The islands’ prosperity often attracted pirates including Sir Francis Drake, a corsair under the British crown, who twice sacked the (then) capital Ribeira Grande, in the 1580’s. The islands were also visited by Charles Darwin’s expedition in 1832. The decline in the slave trade in the 19th century resulted in an economic crisis. With few natural resources and without strong sustainable investment from the Portuguese, the people grew increasingly discontent with the colonial masters, who nevertheless refused to provide the local authorities with more autonomy. This discontent festered and culminated in 1975, when a movement led by Amílcar Cabral achieved independence for the archipelago. The country has an estimated population of about 500,000, with its capital city Praia accounting for a quarter of its citizens. Currently, the Cape Verdean economy is mostly service-oriented with a growing focus on tourism and foreign investment, which benefits from the islands’ warm climate throughout the year, diverse landscape, welcoming people and cultural richness, especially in music.

  1. Cidade Velha

    Cidade Velha, or simply Cidadi in Cape Verdean Creole, is a city located 15 km from Praia (Cape Verde’s capital) on the island of Santiago. It is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde and used to serve as the capital of Cape Verde. Once called Ribeira Grande, its name was changed to Cidade Velha so to avoid confusion with another Ribeira Grande on another island. It is the seat of the Ribeira Grande de Santiago municipality. Located off of Africa’s northwest coast, this city center was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics. Some of the meticulously planned original design of the site is still intact, from a royal fortress to two towering churches to a 16th century town square. Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and center for Creole culture.
    Links: Top Ten Cathedrals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cidade_Velha,
  2. Links: Top Ten Islands, Top 100 Beaches, Top Ten African Beaches,