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Espargos- Sal.JPG
Espargos is located in Cape Verde
Coordinates: 16°45′22″N 22°56′46″W / 16.756°N 22.946°W / 16.756; -22.946Coordinates: 16°45′22″N 22°56′46″W / 16.756°N 22.946°W / 16.756; -22.946
Country Cape Verde
Island Sal
Municipality Sal
Civil parish Nossa Senhora das Dores
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 17,081

Espargos is the capital city of the island municipality of Sal, Cape Verde. Espargos means "asparagus" in Portuguese and refers to the wild vegetable asparagus stalk with its bright yellow flowers which grows in sandy areas around the island. The type is Asparagus squarrosus and are found in other parts of Cape Verde except for Brava island.[citation needed]

The city is situated in the heart of the island, close to the Amílcar Cabral International Airport. The head offices of Cabo Verde Express and Halcyonair are located at the airport.[2][3]

Espargos is connected through roads linking Palmeira to the island's port to the west and Santa Maria to the south, in both cases the EN1-SL01. A short road connects it with Pedra de Lume and its salt-pans to the east, and two other dirt roads go to Terra Boa and to Ponta Preta.[citation needed]

The highest point of Espargos is Monte Curral, with a height of 109 meters[4] where the radar station and the control tower for the airport (the tallest building in Sal and the east of the nation) are located along with the island's television and radio transmitters. Also most of the city's streets have been paved.[citation needed]


  • City Center (formerly Preguiça) - the historic center, the youngest in Cape Verde, features a large concentration of buildings and services
  • Hortelã
  • Ribeira Funda - northern part - the poorest section of the city - the western portion is industrial
  • Morro Curral - dominating the southern part along with the airport, it was used as a ranch in the 16th or the 17th centuries and from the early 19th century up to the foundation of Espargos
  • Bairro Novo (New Neighbourhood) - an area that had the largest population growth in recent years - located in the northeast and the east
  • Pretória - oldest portion of Bairro Novo
  • África 70 - established in 1970
  • Ferradura - notably in a form of a horseshoe - eastern part
  • Casas Sociais (IFH) - social housing area
  • Chã de Matias
  • Chã de Fraqueza
  • Alto de S.João
  • Alto Santa Cruz


Panoramic view of Espargos from the west
One of the streets of Espargos
Monte Curral with its airport radar and the city

Before the founding of Espargos, the area was occupied only by a small ranch named Morro Curral, covering the area up to the present day centre and the mountain summit. Tracks connected Pedra de Lume and Santa Maria but were likely rarely used. The area was also the intersections of the two tracks, one connecting with Pedra de Lume and Santa Maria, and the other to the north of the island.[citation needed]

In 1939 the Italian Government of Benito Mussolini was granted authorization by the Portuguese colonial government to begin construction on a transit airport to service its flights flying between Europe and South America. Very simple pre-fabricated facilities were built. In the same time, the settlement's streets were laid out. However, as a consequence of World War II, the Italian involvement in the airport project ceased. In 1945 the Portuguese purchased the airport installation from the Italians and by 1949 the Ilha do Sal airport was a fully operational transit facility. The airport has been gradually improved ever since. Small houses were erected in several areas immediately adjacent to the airport. Near Morro Curral, workers from nearby Sao Nicolau named the civilian area "Preguiça" after the port village on their home island. Espargos is the city's official name. Not longer after the airport opened, the track became the island's first paved road and was basalt.

Since 1977, Espargos has been the principal commercial and government center of the island.[5] The island's Catholic parish seat did not move and remained in Santa Maria. In 2010, Espargos was elevated from a town to a city.

A plan to separate the island into two municipalities was proposed in 2014, but no action has been taken thus far. Espargos would remain the island capital and seat of one municipality, while to the south, the Municipality of Santa Maria would be created.[6] A possible separation of the island-wide parish from Nossa Senhora dos Dores to create the São João parish with its seat in Espargos has also been proposed.[citation needed]


Year Population
1990 (Census) 5,778
2000 (Census) 5,456
2010 (Census) 17,081

Points of interests[edit]

Unlike other portions of Cape Verde, no building in Espargos was built before the mid-1940s, so that those built have a late colonial, early modern and even modern architecture styles. Most of the buildings do not have good architecture.[according to whom?] Its most notable building is the Sal municipal hall; the other notable one is the church of São João (Saint John)[according to whom?]. It has a Protestant church in the city center and a city market. Espargos' square in the downtown area marks the center of the city.

Espargos also has a small hospital which is the only one on the island.[citation needed]


The annual festival of Saint John the Baptist (São João Batista) is celebrated on June 24th, and features traditional colá music.[citation needed]


Espargos has its own RTC affiliate and offices for the island and it also serves the nearby island of Boa Vista. The city is also served by the island's newspaper Oceanpress based in Santa Maria.[citation needed]


The oldest sports club is Juventude, founded in 1962 and based in the subdivision of Morro Curral. The second oldest is Académica do Sal, a club that caters to the whole island. There is also the Académico do Aeroporto, a football (soccer) club founded in 1966. All Espargo clubs, and some based outside, play at the Estádio Marcelo Leitão, located in Morro Curral. Another club, based in suburban Espargos, is Gaviões of Hortelão who plays in the Sal Premier Division. Finally, the GDRC Pretoria (based in the subdivision of the same name) club plays basketball at its own arena, the Polidesportivo Municipal do Sal and has recently playing football in Sal's Second Division.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2010 Census results". Instituto Nacional de Estatística Cabo Verde (in Portuguese). 24 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "Contacts Archived 2011-01-29 at the Wayback Machine.." Halcyonair. Retrieved on 14 December 2011. "Head Office Amilcar Cabral International Airport Concourse Hall, 1st floor - P. O. Box 142 " - Address in Portuguese Archived 2012-01-08 at the Wayback Machine.: "Halcyonair, S.A. Aeroporto Internacional Amílcar Cabral P.O. Box 142 – Ilha do Sal – República de Cabo Verde" and "Agências Halcyonair Sal Aeroporto Internacional Amílcar Cabral Concourse Hall, 1º piso - P.O. Box 142"
  3. ^ "Contact Us." Cabo Verde Express. Retrieved on 14 December 2011. "Our address : Cape Verde Express The Concourse Amilcar International Airport Ilha do Sal Cape-Verde"
  4. ^ Kapverdische Inseln, Dumont Reisetaschenbuch, 3. Auflage, 2007, ISBN 3-7701-5968-3
  5. ^ Sal History
  6. ^ "April 7, 2014 Article". A Semana (in Portuguese). Retrieved 16 June 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • José João Duarte Silva, Das memórias ao futuro : reentrar a cidade dos Espargos, Coimbra, 2010 (a memoir on its architecture)
  • Touristic Guide Cape Verde 2010. Touristischer Fuehrer Kap Verde.

External links[edit]

  • Espargos Photos from Espargos
  • Videos from RTC in the documentary program Regiões (Regions) titled "Cidade do Espargos" ("City of Espargos") - Part 1, Part 2