Cidade Velha

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Cidade Velha
Cidade Velha - Pillory Square
Cidade Velha - Pillory Square
Cidade Velha is located in Cape Verde
Cidade Velha
Coordinates: 14°54′58″N 23°36′22″W / 14.916°N 23.606°W / 14.916; -23.606Coordinates: 14°54′58″N 23°36′22″W / 14.916°N 23.606°W / 14.916; -23.606
Country Cape Verde
Island Santiago
Municipality Ribeira Grande de Santiago
Civil parish Santíssimo Nome de Jesus
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 1,214
Postal code 7910
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Official name Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande
Criteria Cultural: (ii)(iii)(vi)
Reference 1310
Inscription 2009 (33rd Session)
Area 209.1 ha (0.807 sq mi)
Buffer zone 1,795.6 ha (6.933 sq mi)

Cidade Velha (Portuguese for "old city", in Cape Verdean Creole: Sidadi, also as Sidadi Velha or Sidadi Bedja)[citation needed] is a town in the southern part of the island of Santiago, Cape Verde. It is situated on the south coast, 10 kilometres (6 miles) west of the capital Praia. A former capital of Cape Verde, it is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde. Once called Ribeira Grande, its name was changed to Cidade Velha so to avoid confusion with Ribeira Grande on Santo Antão island. It is the seat of the Ribeira Grande de Santiago municipality.

Located off Africa's northwest coast, this town was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics. Some of the meticulously planned original design of the site is still intact, including a royal fortress, two towering churches and a 16th-century town square. Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and center for Creole culture. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.[2]

Subdivisions[edit]

  • Santo António - east
  • São Roque - west
  • São Sebastião - city center

History[edit]

A 1646 water colour of Cidade Velha by Caspar Schmalkalden.
Cidade Velha - Nossa Senhora do Rosário church.
Ruins of the old cathedral

After the island was discovered, the city was named Ribeira Grande (Portuguese for "large stream") by António da Noli, in 1462. The initial settlement was built inside a valley with a prominent stream, where vegetation was dominant. The abundance of water and resources for agriculture made it suitable. After the discovery of the Americas, the settlement became an important port for trading slaves from Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to Brazil and the Caribbean, which made Cidade Velha the second richest city in the Portuguese realm.

Cidade Velha's port was a stopping place for two great navigators: Vasco da Gama, in 1497, on his way to India, and Christopher Columbus, in 1498, while on his third voyage to the Americas. Later in 1522, it was the stopping place for the later explorer Ferdinand Magellan who served under Spain on his way to circumnavigate the world.

Cidade Velha has the oldest colonial church in the world - Nossa Senhora do Rosário church, which was constructed in 1493 - 1495.

The location of the archipelago had a great strategic importance, located on the maritime routes with the Americas and the south of Africa. It supplied ships with water and fresh food and ship repairs. The island also served for bringing agricultural and animal species, European and African to the Pan-American continent and the Pan-American ones to Europe and Africa.

Requested by John III of Portugal to Pope Clement VII in 1532 and had a Papal bull pro excellenti in 1533, it became the seat of Africa's first diocese known as the Diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde. During the Drake's raid, it was probably in Ribeira Brava. After the Cassard expedition, the seat may have moved to Ribeira Brava on the island of São Nicolau, today the seat is in Praia.

In the mid-16th century, the city had 500 buildings which were built from stone. It had other religious buildings including the church of Saint Roch (São Roque), Saint Peter's (São Pedro), Monte Alverne, Our Lady of Conception (Nossa Senhora da Conceição) and the chapel of Saint Lucy (Santa Luzia). Also located in the lower part was the church and hospital of Santa Casa de Misericórdia, in the upper part had the hospice and house of Companhia de Jesus.

The Sé Cathedral started construction in 1556 under Francisco da Cruz, the third bishop. It was a temple with large dimensions, located 25 meters above sea level, dominated the city with its presence. Its construction works were delayed, it was completed over a century later by the bishop Vitoriano Portuense in the 1693.

The fort Real de São Filipe overlooks the town. It was constructed in 1590 to defend the Portuguese colony from the attacks of the Frenchmen and English, in particular in 1585 when it was attacked and plundered by Francis Drake. However, it was sacked by French pirates as part of the Cassard expedition in 1712, much of its inhabitants including the bishop fled to the island interior. The capital was moved to Praia in 1770 as Ribeira Grande seemed dangerous to remain, much of the population may have moved there.[3]

In the mid 17th century, it had the convent of Saint Francis, located uphill, it laid in ruins, it is restored today and is a church.

In its earlier maps, the city were mentioned in the 1683 atlas as St. Jago, later it was mentioned both as S. Jago and Ribeira Grande in the 1747 French/Dutch map by Jacques Nicolas Bellin.[4]

Around the early 19th century, fewer ships were docked and stationed at its port due to its high harbour fees, more ships docked and visited at Praia Harbor at the time, the least factor for the move of the colonial capital in 1770. It became the second most used and is now the leastly used main port of the island but more active than the small harbours of Rincão and Ribeira da Barca.

Its civil, religious and military buildings laid in decay and ruin. A part of the population likely dominated at the plantations to the north especially its trapiche and sugar mills and Ribeira Grande reduced to the rank of the village and the village center was in that area, it was the main activity of the island's southwest along with nearby Salineiro. The population did not grew again by the shores until the mid-20th century as inhabitants came from the interior to reinhabit a part of the city, new simple buildings were built. Later on, to avoid confusion with Ribeira Grande in Santo Antão, another rum producing area, the name was changed to Cidade Velha, and the stream name became Ribeira Grande de Santiago, the village was again a city. Its notable buildings were started to be restored, the fort in 1968 and later the pillory.

After independence, Cidade Velha's prominent buildings became Heritage of Portuguese Influence (SIPA, or Heritage of Portuguese Origin).

In 2000, under the coordination of the architect Álvaro Siza, it begun a preparation work of a dossier for candidacy to become a UNESCO's World Heritage Site, the dossier was presented on January 31, 2008, more than a year later on June 10, 2009, it became the only World Heritage Site in the country.[2] It is the westernmost world heritage site in the entirety of Africa (mainland and its islands). Over two weeks later on June 27, it became Seven Wonders of the Portuguese-built Landmark in the World.

Cidade Velha separate from Praia in mid-2005 and became the municipal seat of the new Ribeira Grande de Santiago municipality.

From May 31 to June 2, 2010, an international conference known as Cidade Velha and African World Culture, the Future Has Passed II (Cidade Velha e a Cultura Afro-Mundo, O Futuro do Passado II) hosted by UNESCO took place, guests included the Brazilian cultural minister Juca Ferreira.

On 19 January 2012, the municipality celebrated 550 years of the foundation of Cape Verde's first settlement, now known as Cidade Velha.[5]

Demography[edit]

Population of the city of Cidade Velha (1990–2010)
1990[citation needed] 2010[1]
2148 1214

Sites of interest[edit]

  • Pelourinho (Pillory), first raised in 1520
  • Fort Real de São Filipe, constructed in 1590. It was a fort which was built for attacking pirates and defending the Portuguese colony from the French and the English. The elevation is at 120 m above sea level.
  • Nossa Senhora do Rosário church, the oldest colonial church in the world, built in Manueline Gothic style in 1493 - 1495.

Agriculture[edit]

Still used in the northern portion of the city today, it is the most notable is that grogue grown in the plantations of the valley of Ribeira Grande de Santiago. Distillation plants are located.

Climate[edit]

Cidade Velha features an mild desert climate (Köppen: BWh ) with a short wet season and a lengthy, very pronounced dry season. Outside of the months of August, September and October, little precipitation falls on Cidade Velha.

The city on average sees about 260 millimetres (10 in) of rain per year. Despite the fact that it has an arid climate, Cidade Velha seldom gets very hot or very cold, due to its oceanside location on Santiago Island. Temperatures are warm and constant with an average high temperature of 27 °C (81 °F) and an average low temperature of 23 °C (73 °F).

Climate data for Cidade Velha
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31
(88)
31
(88)
33
(91)
34
(93)
33
(91)
34
(93)
33
(91)
33
(91)
36
(97)
33
(91)
32
(90)
31
(88)
36
(97)
Average high °C (°F) 25
(77)
25
(77)
26
(79)
26
(79)
27
(81)
28
(82)
28
(82)
29
(84)
30
(86)
29
(84)
28
(82)
27
(81)
27
(81)
Average low °C (°F) 21
(70)
21
(70)
22
(72)
22
(72)
23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
25
(77)
26
(79)
25
(77)
24
(75)
23
(73)
23
(73)
Record low °C (°F) 17
(63)
17
(63)
17
(63)
18
(64)
18
(64)
19
(66)
19
(66)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
20
(68)
18
(64)
17
(63)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 3
(0.12)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
5
(0.2)
97
(3.82)
114
(4.49)
31
(1.22)
8
(0.31)
3
(0.12)
261
(10.28)
Average rainy days 0.9 0.3 0.1 0 0 0 0.5 8 7 3 0.9 0.5 21.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217 226 279 300 310 275 219 188 219 248 244 215 2,920
Source: BBC Weather[6]

In the media[edit]

Ruins of the São Filipe fort.
  • In 2007, a documentary film titled Architecture of Cidade Velha (Arquitectura de Cidade Velha) was released in 2007 and was directed by Catarina Alves Costa.

Sports[edit]

The only sports club in the city is named Ribeira Grande, it is based in the city and is the municipality's club, they played in their first competition in 2005. The club was founded before the municipality was created. Its matches are played in Praia at Estádio da Várzea and northwest of the center in Calabaceira.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2010 Census results". Instituto Nacional de Estatística Cabo Verde (in Portuguese). 24 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Cidade Velha, Santiago, Cape Verde Islands". CapeVerdeWeb.com. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  4. ^ Jacques-Nicolas Bellin; Pieter de Hondt (1747). "Carte des Isles du Cap Verd = Kaart van de Eilanden van Kabo Verde" (in French). 
  5. ^ "Câmara Municipal da Ribeira Grande de Santiago comemora os 550 anos do povoamento de Cabo Verde" [The Municipal Council of Ribeira Grande Celebrates 550 Years of the Settlement of Cape Verde] (in Portuguese). RTC, TCV. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 2017-12-13. 
  6. ^ "Average Conditions Praia, Cape Verde". BBC Weather. Retrieved June 19, 2013.