Praia is the capital and largest city of Cape Verde, an island country located in the western part of Senegal on the Atlantic Ocean.
It is located on the south coast of the island of Santiago and is part of the Sotavento Islands group.
When did Praia Become the Capital?
The island of Santiago was discovered in 1460 by António da Noli. The ports of Santiago were an important port for ships sailing between the Portuguese colonies in Portugal, Africa, and South America.
Ribeira Grande (Cidade Velha) and Praia were attacked by pirates until the end of the 16th century. Because of its strategic position, Praia has provided better protection against piracy attacks. This gave a big advantage against the old town of Ribeira Grande. Over time, Cidade Velha became the most important settlement of Cape Verde and became the capital of Cape Verde in 1770.
In the 19th century, Praia began to be rebuilt and designed. The streets were rebuilt in the grid layout. Praia became a capital city of Cape Verde in 1858. The city was considered the political, religious and economic center of Cape Verde. After the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal and the end of the Portuguese Colonial War, Cape Verde declared independence in July 1975. After independence, Praia retained its capital status and suffered a demographic explosion that took migration from all the islands. More than half of the population of Cape Verde currently live in Praia.
Features of Praia
It has a population of 151,436 according to Praia 2015 estimates. Praia has a surface area of 120.6 square kilometers. In Praia, which has a temperate desert climate, precipitation is not very common. In August, September, and October, there is little rainfall. Because of its location near the ocean, temperatures are neither too cold nor too hot. The lowest is 18 and the highest is 27 degrees.
Praia has an international airport. There are flights to Europe, Africa, South America, and North America. There are buses from the airport to the city center. Almost anywhere in the city, you can find a bus stop or a taxi waiting for you. It is recommended that you travel by using these vehicles because the city is not very convenient to walk.
The cuisine of Cape Verde is mostly based on seafood, corn and rice. Vegetables that can be obtained during a large part of the year include potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, black pastry and baked beans. Tropical fruits such as bananas and papaya are found throughout the year; fruits such as avocado are seasonal. The most popular dish of Cape Verde is Cachupa. The most famous flavor, except for this meal, which is cooked with heavy fire, corn, beans, fish or meat, is pastel which is a kind of starter plate. It is made of pieces of dough stuffed with fish or meat and fried.
Important Places to See in Praia
In the downtown Albuquerque Square, there is a statue of the Governor General Alexandre Alberto Da Rocha de Serpa Pinto and a large pool where you can relax in the shade of trees on the surrounding benches. The buildings with the colonial architecture around the square are ideal for taking photos and studying. The Old Town Hall, built in the 1920s, is also located in this square.
The city’s most important museum is the Ethnographic Museum, which is called the Museu Etnografico in the original language. Opened in 1997 in 19th-century colonial architecture, the museum is the first ethnographic museum in the country. Many cultural and musical objects are exhibited in the museum.
The Presidential Palace, called Palácio Presidencial, is one of Cape Verde’s important buildings built at the end of the 19th century. It was a building used by Portuguese rulers from 1975 until the independence of Cape Verde.
The Quartel Jaime Mota, the Jaime Mota Barracks, is an old building that was formerly used and located in Avenida Andrade Corvo. The building, located on the top of the old city, near the Presidential Palace, was built in 1826 in accordance with the characteristics of the colonial architecture. This is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Just near the statue of Diogo Gomes, made to commemorate the Portuguese sailor and explorer. In 1460, the bronze statue of Diogo Gomes, who discovered the island of Santiago, was 8 meters high.