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City tour Praia and Cidade Velha

A mix of history and Cape Verdean culture

Praia city is a lively trading centre with busy markets, shopping areas and street sellers. In the colorful streets you'll feel the Cape Verdean way of living. As you explore the market places you'll walk past the political capital buildings and the colonial buildings in Plateau. Down by Fazenda you get the chance of buying local souvenirs and try on traditional clothing. 

Time to leave the current capital and visit the former capital : Cidade Velha. This village was the first settlement in Cape Verde and has been the capital for a long period of time. Nowadays you can still feel it's history on top of the fortress and down the church and monastry in the agricultural valley leading inwards. Nowadays it's a fishing village that respects it's history and a highlight to visit and have a fresh fish lunch by the ocean. 


☑️ Transport between Praia's neighbourhoods, to and from Cidade Velha


❌ Entrance fees (€5 for the fortress of São Filipe)

❌ Lunch (Around €12 - €15 for a main course)

Prices per person

🎫 €45 (2-3 persons)

🎫 €35 (4+ persons)

🎫 €22.5 per child (under 12)

Cidade Velha, on the southern coast of Santiago Island in Cape Verde, is a town rich in history. Founded in 1462 by Portuguese settlers, it is the oldest European colonial settlement in the tropics. Originally called Ribeira Grande, it was later renamed Cidade Velha, which means "Old City" in Portuguese.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, Cidade Velha is known for its well-preserved colonial buildings and significant landmarks. The Fortaleza Real de São Felipe, a fortress built in 1590, was designed to protect the town from pirates and offers stunning views of the area.

Another important landmark is the Pelourinho, a marble pillar in the main square, where enslaved Africans were punished and sold during the town's central role in the transatlantic slave trade. The Nossa Senhora do Rosário church, built in 1495, is the oldest colonial church in the tropics, showcasing unique architectural styles.

During the Age of Discovery, Cidade Velha was a key stopover for ships traveling between Africa, Europe, and the Americas. This made it a cultural melting pot, blending African, European, and American influences seen in its food, music, and festivals.

Today, Cidade Velha is a vibrant community and a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore cobblestone streets, ancient ruins, and experience local culture. Tourism helps preserve the town's historical sites and supports the local economy.

In short, Cidade Velha is an important historical site that tells the story of exploration, colonialism, and cultural exchange. Its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site ensures its history is preserved for future generations.

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