Top Ten African Cities

Top Ten African Cities

  1. Cape Town, South Africa

           Cape Town is the 2nd most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbor as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is also Africa’s most popular tourist destination. Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on April 6, 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa. Today it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. As of 2007 the city had an estimated population of 3.5 million. Cape Town’s land area of 2,455 square km (948 square mi) is larger than other South African cities, resulting in a comparatively lower population density of 1,425 inhabitants per square km (3,690 /sq mi). Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa, and is featured in the flag of Cape Town and other local government insignia. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions, Top Ten MountainsTop Ten African Mountains,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Townhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_Mountain,
  2. Johannesburg, South Africa

           Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world, and is also the world’s largest city not situated on a river, lake or coastline. While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court, which has the final word on interpretation of South Africa’s new post-Apartheid constitution. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. Johannesburg is served by O.R. Tambo International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of Southern Africa. According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the municipal city was 3,888,180 and the population of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,151,447. Johannesburg includes Soweto, which was a separate city from the late 1970’s until the 1990’s. Originally an acronym for “South-Western Townships,” Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg populated mostly by native African workers in the gold mining industry. Eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, the apartheid regime (in power 1948–1994) separated Soweto from the rest of Johannesburg to make it a completely Black area. The area called Lenasia is now also part of Johannesburg, and is predominantly populated by those of Indian ethnicity since the apartheid era. The Gauteng province as a whole is growing rapidly due to mass urbanization, which is a feature of many developing countries.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions, Top Ten Fireworks Shows,
  3. Cairo, Egypt

           Cairo, literally “The Vanquisher” or “The Conqueror,” is the capital of Egypt, the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a center of the region’s political and cultural life. Cairo was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th century AD; but the land composing the present-day city was the site of national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo is also associated with Ancient Egypt due to its proximity to the ancient cities of Memphis, Giza and Fustat which are nearby to the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza. Egyptians today often refer to Cairo as Maṣr, the Arabic pronunciation of the name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city’s continued role in Egyptian influence. Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab World, as well as the world’s 2nd oldest institution of higher learning, al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses and organizations have regional headquarters in the city, and the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence. With a population of 6.76 million spread over 453 square km (175 sq mi), Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. With an additional ten million inhabitants just outside the city, Cairo resides at the center of the largest metropolitan area in Africa and the 11th largest urban area in the world. Cairo, like many other mega-cities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic, but its metro, currently the only one on the African continent, also ranks among the 15 busiest in the world, with over 700 million passenger rides annually. The economy of Cairo was ranked 1st in the Middle East and 43rd globally by Foreign Policy’s 2010 Global Cities Index.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Artifacts, Top Ten Egyptian Artifacts, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten African Museums, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo,
  4. Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands


           Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital (jointly with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), 2nd most populous city of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 21st largest city in Spain, with a population of 222,417 (2009). Located in northeast quadrant of Tenerife, about 210 km (130 mi) off the northwestern coast of Africa within the Atlantic Ocean. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands, until 1927 when a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present. The port is of great importance and is the communications hub between Europe, Africa and Americas, with cruise ships arriving from many nations. The city is the nerve center on domestic and inter-island communications in the Canary Islands. The city is home to the Parliament of the Canary Islands, the Canarian Ministry of Presidency (shared in a four-year term with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), one half of the ministries and boards of the Canarian Government, (the other half being located in Gran Canaria), the Tenerife Provincial Courts and two courts of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands. Its harbor is one of Spain’s busiest being important for commercial and passenger traffic, as well as for being a major stopover for cruisers en route from Europe to the Caribbean. It also has one of the world’s largest carnivals. The main landmarks of the city include the Auditorio de Tenerife (Auditorium of Tenerife), the Santa Cruz Towers (Torres de Santa Cruz) and the Iglesia de la Concepción. The city is a melting pot of diverse cultures that give it a cosmopolitan character. The largest distinct communities have immigrants from: Latin America, Africa and Western Europe. In recent years the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has had a significant aug bizarre constructions, the horizon (Skyline) is the sixth in height across the country, only behind Madrid, Benidorm, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao.
    Links: Top Ten Canary Island Attractions, Islands, Top Ten Concert Halls, Top Ten Architectural Works by Santiago CalatravaTop Ten Sculptures by Igor Mitorajhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Cruz_de_Tenerife,
  5. Funchal, Madeira


           Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal’s Autonomous Region of Madeira. The city has a population of 112,015 and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries.
    Links: Top Ten Portuguese Attractions, Top 100 Flowers, Top Ten Flower Regions,
  6. Marrakech, Morrocco

           Marrakech or Marrakesh, known as the “Red City,” is the most important former imperial city in Morocco’s history. The city of Marrakesh is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, being also the 2nd largest city in Morocco. Like many North African cities, the city of Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern city (called Gueliz) for a total population of 1,070,000. It is served by Ménara International Airport and a rail link to Casablanca and the north. Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Djemaa el Fna. The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians. By night food stalls open in the square turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant.
    Links: Top Ten Moroccan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medina_of_Marrakesh,
  7. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary islands, Spain

           Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the political capital, jointly with Santa Cruz, the most populous city in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 9th largest city in Spain, with a population of 383,308 (2010). Las Palmas is the largest city of the European Union outside Europe. It is located in the northeast part of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) off the northwestern coast of Africa within the Atlantic Ocean. Las Palmas enjoy a subtropical climate, with mild to warm temperatures throughout the year. According to a study carried out by Thomas Whitmore, director of research on climatology at Syracuse University in the United States, Las Palmas enjoys “the best climate in the world.” It was founded as city in 1478, considered the de facto only capital of the Canary Islands until the 17th century. Today, the city is capital of Canary Islands with Santa Cruz and home to the Canarian Ministry of Presidency (shared in a 4-year term with Santa Cruz de Tenerife), one half of the ministries and boards of the Canarian Government, (the other half being located in Tenerife), Gran Canaria Provincial Courts and two courts of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands.
    Links: Top Ten Canary Islands Attractions, Top Ten Spanish Attractions,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Palmas_de_Gran_Canaria,
  8. San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain

           San Cristóbal de La Laguna is a city and municipality in the northern part of the island of Tenerife in the Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, on the Canary Islands (Spain). The city is 3rd most populous city of the archipelago and 2nd most populous city of the island. It is a suburban area of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Starting in 2003 the municipality started an ambitious Urban Plan to renew this area, that was carried out by the firm AUC S.L. The city was the ancient capital of the Canary Islands. La Laguna is physically part of the city of Santa Cruz, as both cities and municipalities, form a single large urban center, which is in the process of consolidating their union with other populations. It is home to the University of La Laguna which is home to 30,000 students; these are not included in the population figures for the city. La Laguna is considered to be the cultural capital of the Canary Islands. Also there is in the habit of being calling the “City of the Anticipated ones”, for having been the first university city of the archipelago. Its economy is business-oriented while agriculture dominates the northeastern portion of the city. The urban area dominates the central and the southern parts. Tourism covers the northern coast. The main industry includes some manufacturing. The industrial area is made up of the main subdivisions of Majuelos, Las Torres de Taco, Las Mantecas and Las Chumberas. In this city one finds the legendary house of Catalina Lercaro spectrum, as well as the incorrupt body of sister Sor María de Jesús, and the Christ of La Laguna. Another emblematic building of the city is the Cathedral of La Laguna, which is the catholic cathedral of Tenerife and his diocese. In 2010 after a survey, La Laguna was listed as the city with the best reputation in the Canary Islands and the third no provincial capital city of Spain with the best reputation, but behind Gijon and Marbella.
    Links: Top Ten Canary Islands Attractions, Top Ten Spanish Attractions,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Crist%C3%B3bal_de_la_Laguna,
  9. Port Louis, Mauritius
     
           Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. It is the largest city of the country, with a population of 147,688 (2003), and main port, bordering the Indian Ocean.
    Links: Top Ten Mauritius Attractions, Top Ten Portshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Louis,
  10. Nairobi, Kenya


           Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to “the place of cool waters.” However, it is popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun” and is surrounded by several expanding villa suburbs. Founded in 1899 as a simple rail depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda, the town quickly grew to become the capital of British East Africa in 1907 and eventually the capital of a free Kenyan republic in 1963. During Kenya’s colonial period, the city became a center for the colony’s coffee, tea and sisal industry. Nairobi is also the capital of the Nairobi Province and of the Nairobi District. The city lies on the Nairobi River, in the south of the nation, and has an elevation of 1,795 m above sea-level. Nairobi is the most populous city in East Africa, with a current estimated population of about 3 million. Nairobi is currently the 12th largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs. Nairobi is now one of the most prominent cities in Africa politically and financially. Home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the main coordinating and headquarters for the UN in Africa & Middle East, the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and 2nd oldest exchange. It is ranked 4th in terms of trading volume and capable of making 10 million trades a day. The Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) defines Nairobi as a prominent social center.
    Links: Top Ten Kenyan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nairobi,
  11. Tripoli, Libya



           Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is affectionately called The Bride of the Mediterranean, describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means “Three Cities.” As of the 2006 census, the Tripoli metropolitan area had a population of one million. The city is located in the northwest part of the country on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean and forming a bay. The city includes the Port of Tripoli and the country’s largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of Al Fateh University. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family compound of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city; Gaddafi largely ruled the country from his residence in this barracks. Tripoli was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians, who named it Oea. Due to the city’s long history, there are many sites of archaeological significance in Tripoli. The climate is typical Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool winters with modest rainfall. “Tripoli” may also refer to the shabiyah (top-level administrative division in the current Libyan system), Tripoli District, also called the Tarabulus District.
    Links: Top Ten Libyan Attractions, Top Ten Triumphal Arches, Top Ten Clock Towers,
  12. Tetouan, Morocco

           Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco. The Berber name means literally “the eyes” and figuratively “the water springs.” Tetouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 mi (60 km) E.S.E. of Tangier. In 2004 the city had 320,539 inhabitants. Arabic is the official language but it is not used for everyday dialogue. The city has its own dialect, a particular variant of Arabic which is distinct from Jebli Arabic. However, Jebli arabic is predominant since people from the neighboring rural areas settled in the city during the 20th century rural flights. The use of Spanish and French is still widespread especially by the businessmen and intellectual elites. Its main religion is Islam, though a small Christian minority lives in the city.
    Links: Top Ten Moroccan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C3%A9touan,
  13. Casablanca, Morocco

           Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city as well as its chief port, located on the Atlantic Ocean in Western Morocco. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture of Casablanca and 3,631,061 in the region of Grand Casablanca. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, while the political capital city of Morocco is Rabat. Casablanca hosts headquarters and main industrial facilities for the leading Moroccan and international companies based in Morocco. Industrial statistics show Casablanca retains its historical position as the main industrial zone of the country. The Port of Casablanca is one of the largest artificial ports in the world, and the largest port in North Africa.
    Links: Top Ten Moroccan Attractions, Top 100 Filmshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casablanca,
    Products: Casablanca (Film),
  14. Tangier, Morocco

           Tangier, preferred, sometimes Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 (2008). It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. The history of Tangier is very rich due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures starting from the 5th century BC. Between the period of being a Phoenician town to the independence era around the 1950’s, Tangier was a place, and, sometimes a refuge, for many cultures. However, it was not until 1923 that Tangier was attributed an international status by foreign colonial powers, thus becoming a destination for many Europeans, Americans and Indians alike. The city is currently undergoing rapid development and modernization. Projects include new 5-star hotels along the bay, a modern business district called Tangier City Centre, a new airport terminal and a new soccer stadium. Tangier’s economy is also set to benefit greatly from the new Tanger-Med port. Tangier’s sport team I.R.T. (or Ittihad Riadi de Tanger) is the main football club and has the most followers. Tangier will be one of the host cities for the 2015 African Nations Cup soccer championship, played at the new Ibn Batouta Stadium and in other cities in Morocco.
    Links: Top Ten Moroccan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangier,
  15. Timbuktu, Mali



           Timbuktu, formerly also spelled Timbuctoo, is a town in the West African nation of Mali situated 15 km (9.3 mi) north of the River Niger on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the 8 administrative regions of Mali. In 2009, the town had a population of 54,453. Starting out as a seasonal settlement, Timbuktu became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory and slaves and became part of the Mali Empire early in the 13th century. In the first half of the 15th century the Tuareg tribes took control of the city for a short period until the expanding Songhay Empire absorbed the city in 1468. A Moroccan army defeated the Songhay in 1591, and made Timbuktu, rather than Gao, their capital. The invaders established a new ruling class, the arma, who after 1612 became independent of Morocco. However, the golden age of the city was over and it entered a long period of decline. Different tribes governed until the French took over in 1893, a situation that lasted until it became part of the current Republic of Mali in 1960. Nowadays Timbuktu is impoverished and suffers from desertification. Several initiatives are being undertaken to revive the historic manuscripts still kept in the city. Meanwhile, tourism forms an important source of income. In its Golden Age, the town’s numerous Islamic scholars and extensive trading network made possible an important book trade: together with the campuses of the Sankore madrassah, an Islamic university, this established Timbuktu as a scholarly centre in Africa. Several notable historic writers, such as Shabeni and Leo Africanus have described Timbuktu. These stories fueled speculation in Europe, where the city’s reputation shifted from being extremely rich to being mysterious. This reputation overshadows the town itself in modern times, to the point where it is best known as a metaphor for a distant or outlandish place.
    Links: Top Ten Malian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbuktu,
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