Santiago

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THE BARN

barragem poilao

@David Gomes Photography

THE BARN

barragem poilao

@David Gomes Photography

History

Considered the cradle of the Cabo Verdean nation, Santiago was the first island to be settled, and had as its capital Ribeira Grande, now known as Cidade Velha. Considered the oldest city in the country, it has a long and curious history, related to its enormous geostrategic importance. A customs center for ships transporting slaves from the West African coast to the rest of the world, the first European urban center in the tropics, its riches were always the object of envy.

This is proven by the construction, in the late 16th Century, of São Filipe Fort, which, from its position overlooking Cidade Velha, protected the city from constant attacks by pirate ships, including vessels commanded by Francis Drake and Jacques Cassard. These constant attacks, alongside others, such as that carried out by partisans of the Priory of Crato in the war of succession to the Portuguese crown, made the city the constant target of acts of pillaging, which led to the transfer of the capital to the city of Praia (now the country’s capital) in 1772.

Santiago saw the highest degree of assimilation of influences from African continent, reflected in various different cultural manifestations, ranging from music to customs to gastronomy. The city of Praia offers visitors various points of interest, such as the typically African Sucupira market, where one can find a little of everything.

The island is home to Praia International Airport, which features a 1,200-meter-long, 45-meter-wide runway. Located just three kilometers from the city center, the airport is served by Airlines carrying out flights from various cities in Europe (Lisbon, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich), South Africa (Fortaleza, in Brazil), North America (Boston) and the African continent, in addition to domestic flights.

Geography

The island of Santiago is famous for its varied culinary offerings, both in terms of traditional cuisine and more sophisticated dining. The most popular dishes are based on pork, chicken and fish. Cabo Verde’s best-known traditional dish, cachupa, may be tasted at various restaurants all over the island, and especially in the city of Praia.

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