|Facts About Praia|
|Founded||1615 But Independence from Portugal 5 July 1975|
|Lat Long Coordinates||14°55′15″N 23°30′30″W|
|Language||Cape Verdean Creole|
|Point of interest||Praia town hall, Praia Cathedral, Palacio da Justica|
Praia is the capital and the largest city of Cape Verde. This country is located in the Atlantic Ocean, near Senegal. Praia lies in the southeastern coast of Santiago. It is the seat of the government as well as a flourishing business port.
The city was founded in 1615 when it was known as Praia de Santa Maria. It originally grew up as a port and was often used for illegal trade. It gradually grew into a city and in 1770, the capital was formally transferred to Praia from Ribeira Grande. When Cape Verde won independence from the Portuguese in 1975, the city experienced a population boom and today, a fifth of the population of the country are concentrated in Praia.
Praia is located on a series of plateau known as Achada. The central plateau of this group is commonly called Plateau which formed the original town of Praia. However, after independence, the surrounding Achada were also made a part of the city. Praia is also a bustling port which handles the bulk of the exports from the country of such items as tropical fruits, coffee and sugarcane.
The city has a mild desert climate, summers are warm and wet. Precipitation is concentrated in the months of August, September and October. The rest of the year is very dry and cool. The location on the coasts ensures that temperature remains mild throughout the year.
How to reach (transport)
You can travel to Praia in different ways. The Praia International Airport was opened in 2005 and it has direct flights to several destinations in Africa and to Lisbon in Portugal. The airport is located 3 kms to the northeast of the city and you can travel to the city by bus or taxis. Apart from this, regular ferry services are present with other islands and the mainland in the region.
When to visit
Since Praia is near to ocean it has a moderate a moderate climate which is mild and pleasurable throughout the year. It attracts tourists in the wet season from October to June.
Fairs and Festivals
Compared to the rest of the country, Praia has a far more cosmopolitan culture. It is more open with a greater hint of global influence which decreases markedly as you move away from the capital. The city is bustling and hectic and the large business and government buildings are interspersed with slums. The African influence is strong. This is not surprising considering the town used to be a flourishing center of slave trade. However, the European influence can also be seen, especially in cuisine and costume.
Some of the festivals celebrated in Praia are as follows:
- The Praia Kriol jazz festival was launched in 2009 and is celebrated from 10th to 13th April. The festival aims to promote Creole inspired music from all over the world – Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Cape Verde and Africa. Best artists from the Creole world perform their music for an exchange of cultural ideas. In addition to concerts by local and international artists, there are workshops, documentaries, lectures and even a jam session for the visitors.
- The festival of Nossa Senora de Graca (Our Lady of Grace) is celebrated on 15th of August to honor the first patron saint of the city.
- The Gamboa festival involves a number of musical performances given in many parts of the country including Praia in May.
- The celebration of popular saints or Tabanca is held in June and July. Groups from different parts of the islands meets at Praia and a colorful procession is led by the "king" and "queen" accompanied by conch shells and drum rolls.
Some of the most important points to visit in Praia are as follows:
- The best way to start enjoying Praia is to stroll around the old city with its narrow street, local markets, magnificent colonial houses, the parliament, the old town fortress and the Nossa Senora de Graca church. It also offers a beautiful view of the surrounding region.
- The Praia Prainha is the best of all the city beaches where you can relax and swim.
- In addition, you can visit the Ehtnogrpahic Museum and the Mercado de Sucupira where you can pick up the most unusual mementoes.
There are quite a few nice places to stay in Praia. These include Pestana Tropico hotel and the Oasis Atlantico Praiamar which are in the top bracket. If you are looking for mid range or budget accommodations, you can check out the following hotels: Perola, Benefica Pensao, Residencial Nazare.
Last Updated : February 17, 2014