Cape Verde ~ Emerging Country With Interesting People

Today, Praia is a city of 120,000, the cultural center of Cape Verde as well as home to its government offices and important educational institutions. Many of the colonial era buildings still exist, but the town also has a modern African feel, with influenced from the continent in its music, food and fashions.

Access to the island’s beaches and small villages is easy and provide a different view of the Cape Verdean culture. With a dry, warm climate, fascinating history and interesting blend of past and present, European and African, Praia is indeed a confluence of cultures. About half of the island’s population now lives in Praia of which the majority of it is perched on a high plateau overlooking the sea with a fortified wall around it.

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The arid climate makes it difficult to grow crops, but the people have found ways to cultivate peppers, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, bananas, and cassava. Fishing has been a way of life on the island for centuries and many local recipes incorporate fish into them. The most common crafts are baskets made from coconut fibers and beautiful woven cloth (the country’s only export).   

The streets and sidewalks were all cobblestone making walking difficult on feet and knees. The patterns in some of the sidewalks were very unusual and intricate. All of the young men in Cape Verde are required to serve one year in the armed services and some then go into law enforcement. We did feel safe while traveling around this country that is trying to expand its share of the tourist market.

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We also visited an early Catholic church and learned that about 90% of the Cape Verdean population is Catholic. Free Wi-Fi is available in the city square and many students and tourists take advantage of this. 

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Visiting the colorful vegetable market of Praia was quite an experience! Corn, peas and beans are staples in the diets in Cape Verde along with other fresh vegetables, fruits, and chicken and fish.

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High over the Old Town of Cidade Velha, we visited the fortress of San Filipe, built by the orders of Filipe I, King of Portugal and Spain.

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In the Old Town, below the fort, we also saw the Pelourinho – a reminder of the island’s history of slavery and the sad commerce of human souls. In another part of Old Town we walked along the Rua Banana to see the traditional stone houses and to visit with some of the locals. 

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One Response to “Cape Verde ~ Emerging Country With Interesting People”

  1. Hi Barb, The Cape Verde pictures are wonderful. Richard and I just returned from Myanmar this afternoon. Will have pictures for you the next time we meet. Love, Judy

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