Praia

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Praia
Praia Cabo Verde in early-October 2007
Praia Cabo Verde in early-October 2007
Praia is located in Cape Verde
Praia
Coordinates: 14°55′05″N 23°30′32″W / 14.918°N 23.509°W / 14.918; -23.509Coordinates: 14°55′05″N 23°30′32″W / 14.918°N 23.509°W / 14.918; -23.509
Country Cape Verde
Island Santiago
Municipality Praia
Civil parish Nossa Senhora da Graça
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 130,271

Praia (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpɾajɐ], lit. "beach", in both Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole), is the capital and largest city of Cape Verde, an island nation in the Atlantic Ocean west of Senegal. It lies on the southern coast of Santiago island in the Sotavento Islands group. It is the island's ferry port and is home to one of the nation’s four international airports. The city centre is known as Platô due to its location on a small plateau.

Praia is Cabo Verde's largest city, a commercial centre, and a port that ships coffee, sugar cane, and tropical fruits. Praia also has a fishing industry and there are resort beaches nearby. It is the seat of the Praia municipality.

Subdivisions[edit]

The city (also the municipality) are divided into several neighbourhoods including:

  • Achada Grande Frente – east - a subdivision between the port and the airport, it is the industrial area of Praia, it has a coupe of discothèques
  • Achada Grande Tras - east and northeast (then spelt as Achada Grande Trás), the largest neighborhood in Praia, it also forms a part of the city's port and the island's southeastern tip
  • Achada Santo António - southcenter - a neighbourhood that forms an orthogonal form, it is home to the National Assembly
  • Achada São Filipe – situated in the north of the city, one of the forested sections of the city, it bounds the area of the Praia Circular Road, the area was developed in the 1990s
  • Achadinha, or Achadinha de Baixo – a neighbourhood northwest of the plateau and south of Craveiro Lopes
  • Bela Vista - west
  • Caiada - westernmost part (until the 1990s, it was a separate tiny settlement), the population has doubled from the 2000s in 2015, in the south is home to the island's generating station and now features solar planes around it
  • Calabaceira - north - as there is another Calabaceira near Salineiro in Ribeira Grande de Santiago, it is sometimes known as Calabaceira de Dois Ribeiras
  • Castelão
  • Cidadela – a neighbourhood featuring chalets, it is located in the west and where the citadel was located.
  • Fazenda
  • Gamboa (also known as Chã de Areias) – a neighbourhood featuring a beach, famous for the city's music festival, it was once called Praia de Santa Maria
  • Latada
  • Lém Cachorro or Lem Cachorro
  • Lém Ferreira or Lem Ferreira
  • Eugênio Lima
  • Craveiro Lopes – a neighbourhood northwest of the plateau named after the Portuguese president Francisco Higino Craveiro Lopes in the 1950s, founded during his 1955 visit to Cape Verde
  • Paiol
  • Palmarejo – it forms a part of several blocks just south of the plateau, it is home to the city's chief companies, once a separate village until independence in 1975, the western portion was developed in around the 1990s and with its streets named after major Capeverdean geographical features
  • Pensamento - northwest - the area features the forested portion of the northwest of Praia, it extends to the area of the Praia Circular Road
  • Plateau or Platô – the center of Praia, the historic part of the city which features historic buildings and the busiest squares, the city hall, the presidential palace, the justice palace and numerous ministry buildings, it is bounded by streets encircling the plateau
    • Mirador Diogo Gomes, a smaller neighbourhood of the Plateau
  • Prainha – an area featuring several hotels es la zona donde se encuentran los hoteles de la ciudad.
  • Ponta d'Agua – an area located in the south
  • Quebra Canela – situated in the beach, the area features various restaurants and a mall named Praia Shopping, built in the early 2010s - it is also the smallest and the leastly populated neighborhood in the city
  • Safende
  • Ilhéu de Santa Maria – a neighbourhood forming an islet, once used as a leper colony
  • Terra Branca – a residential neighbourhood es un barrio residencial compuesto por viviendas unifamiliares.
  • Tira Chapeu – a crescent shaped subdivision
  • Várzea – located in the lower part of the city, it feaures several sports pavilions including Várzea and the lesser Vavá Duarte and the national library, it is now home to the stock market

History[edit]

A 1772 map including Praia.

The previous settlement was razed by Francis Drake on November 29, 1585 as part of the Capture of Santiago, only the town hospital remained,[2] the plunder was scarce and his fleet left.

The town of Praia de Santa Maria appeared in 1615 when it took the place of the previous settlement on the plateau, which was originally favored because the nearby port (Santa Maria beach) offered good conditions for ships. Initially used as a clandestine harbor (in order to avoid customs fees at the then capital Ribeira Grande), the settlement gradually acquired the characteristics of a town after much of the population from Ribeira Grande fled there during its decline in the midst of frequent pirate attacks. The official transfer of capital status from Ribeira Grande to Praia took place in 1770.

A depiction of Praia during the Battle of Porto Praya.

In the history of Cabo Verde there have been successive proposals for transferring the capital elsewhere, the most recent being Mindelo in the late 19th century. However, the successive Portuguese administrations never showed an interest (economical or political?) in such proposals. Through an official decree in 1858, when its status was changed from town to city, Praia secured its status as the capital of Cabo Verde, concentrating political, religious and economic roles.

Portuguese cannon barrel, with coat of arms, at Praia, Cape Verde

In the early 1920s, the population was around 21,000.[3] During the Portuguese administration, only the central plateau was considered to be the city proper and thus the principal zone of urbanization and concentration of municipal services. It was only after independence (July 1975) that the surrounding neighbourhoods generally became accepted as part of the city proper.

After independence, the Praia underwent a demographic boom. After 33 years its population had quadrupled, receiving migrating movements from all the islands. As a result, half of the entire population of Cabo Verde currently resides in Santiago; a fourth in the Municipality of Praia; and a fifth in the City of Praia alone.

Geography[edit]

An aerial view of Praia.

Geographically, Praia may be described as a set of plateaus and their surrounding valleys. These plateaus generally have the name achada (Achada de Santo António, Achada de São Filipe, Achada Eugénio Lima, Achada Grande, Achadinha, etc. — achada being a Portuguese word to designate a volcanic plateau), but the central one is colloquially called Plateau (in Portuguese itself). The urban settlement is made mostly on top of these plateaus and along the valleys. The islet of Santa Maria is in front of the beach bearing the same name (today more known as Gamboa).

For a long time, only the Plateau was considered to be the city, being the other neighbourhoods relegated to the condition of peripheral suburbs, in spite of always having a close relationship with the Plateau (people movements, goods and services exchanges, etc.). This is why only the Plateau previously had relatively well-developed urbanization with its own infra-structures. The remaining neighbourhoods developed in a more organic, chaotic way.

A view of Praia area plateaus. Achada Grande

Only after independence did the Plateau merge with the other neighbourhoods to constitute what is now considered the City of Praia. The whole city was, at the time, equipped with adequate infrastructure. Urbanization begun immediately after independence and sought to expand north.

The Plateau is still attracting most of the daily traffic within the city because it is still considered the economic and administrative center of the city. In spite of de-centralization attempts, the population continues to consider the neighbourhoods peripherals to the Plateau, as either "bedroom communities" or industrial zones.

This was the first stop the HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin.[citation needed] When Edmund Roberts visited Praia in 1832, he noted a "good supply" of fish including mullet and red grouper. He also noted date palms being plentiful in the area.[4]

Climate[edit]

Praia features a mild desert climate (Köppen: BWh) with a short wet season and a lengthy, very pronounced dry season. In fact, outside of the months of August, September and October, little precipitation falls on Praia. The city on average sees about 260 millimetres (10 in) of rain per year. Since the coldest month is far above 18 °C (64 °F) its temperature patterns resembles a tropical climate, but lacks enough precipitation to be classified as such.

Despite the fact that it has an arid climate, Praia 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 Praia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.2
(90)
32.2
(90)
32.8
(91)
33.9
(93)
37.2
(99)
35
(95)
32.8
(91)
32.8
(91)
36.1
(97)
35
(95)
32.2
(90)
30.6
(87.1)
37.2
(99)
Average high °C (°F) 25
(77)
25
(77)
25.6
(78.1)
26.1
(79)
27.2
(81)
27.8
(82)
28.3
(82.9)
28.9
(84)
28.9
(84)
29.4
(84.9)
27.8
(82)
26.1
(79)
27.2
(81)
Daily mean °C (°F) 22.5
(72.5)
22.2
(72)
22.8
(73)
23.3
(73.9)
24.2
(75.6)
24.5
(76.1)
26.1
(79)
26.7
(80.1)
27
(81)
26.9
(80.4)
25.6
(78.1)
23.9
(75)
24.6
(76.3)
Average low °C (°F) 20
(68)
19.4
(66.9)
20
(68)
20.6
(69.1)
21.1
(70)
21.1
(70)
23.9
(75)
24.4
(75.9)
25
(77)
24.4
(75.9)
23.3
(73.9)
21.7
(71.1)
22.1
(71.8)
Record low °C (°F) 17.2
(63)
13.3
(55.9)
16.7
(62.1)
17.2
(63)
16.1
(61)
18.9
(66)
18.9
(66)
20
(68)
21.1
(70)
20
(68)
20
(68)
17.8
(64)
13.3
(55.9)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 2.5
(0.098)
1.3
(0.051)
1
(0.04)
2.3
(0.091)
0
(0)
1
(0.04)
13.2
(0.52)
99.3
(3.909)
29
(1.14)
47.5
(1.87)
7.9
(0.311)
4.6
(0.181)
209.6
(8.252)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 7 3 1 1 22
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217 226 279 300 310 275 219 188 219 248 244 215 2,920
Source #1: Sistema de Clasificación Bioclimática Mundial[5]
Source #2: BBC Weather[6]

Society[edit]

Demographics[edit]

The Nossa Senhora da Graça Church – Cabo Verde is primarily Catholic.

As of the mid-19th century, the population was estimated at 1,500 to 2,000. When Edmund Roberts visited in 1832, he noted a population of black people in Praia totaling about "nineteen twentieths" of the population.[4]

Nowadays, Praia is truly a melting pot as every Cabo Verde Island is represented here by way of their natives, and many different nationalities are represented here as well.

According to the national statistics office, the city's population is approximately 134,782 as of December 2013, growing from 94,161 in 2000.

Population of the city of Praia (1990–2013)[7]
1990 2000 2005 2013
61,644 94,161 111,500 138,803

Education[edit]

The Domingos Ramos Secondary School

The city of Praia is home to the first primary school in the archipelago, originally known as the Escola Central (today known as the Escola Grande). For much time it was the only primary school in Praia. At the beginning of the 1960s, other primary schools began to be built in neighbourhoods around the Plateau and in other localities on the island.

Praia was also the first site in Cabo Verde with a secondary education institution with the creation of the Liceu Nacional in 1861. However, the Portuguese authorities were not interested in implementing secondary education in Cabo Verde and the school failed as a result; secondary education became, afterwards, the role of the Seminário de Ribeira Brava on the island of São Nicolau, and later of the lyceum in Mindelo.

In 1960, Praia again had secondary education, first with a facility on September 12 Plaza and later in its own building. With the expansion of education in Cabo Verde in the 1990s, various buildings dedicated to education were constructed in Cabo Verde, and Praia currently (2016) has 12 secondary education schools.

International schools:

For higher education, there are the Instituto Universitário de Educação, Universidade Intercontinental de Cabo Verde, Universidade de Santiago, Instituto Superior de Ciencias Juridícas e Sociais, Instituto Superior de Ciencias Económicas e Empresariais, Jean Piaget University of Cape Verde, and University of Cape Verde.

Praia is also home to the National Library and the National Archives Building or the ANCV.

Economy[edit]

Cabo Verde's Presidential Palace.

The economy of Praia is dependent above all on the services sector, with some industry as well.[citation needed]

Some industries exist, located on the coast (fishing) or in outlying neighbourhoods (rendering of agricultural products, materials for civil construction, etc.)[citation needed]

The principal economic activities of Praia belong to the tertiary sector. Beyond activities related to administration and governance (local and national), there are extensive commerce, services (health care, education, tourism, restaurants and hotels, public functions, etc.), and other activities of a liberal character.

Being the nation´s capital as well as the economic hub, Praia is one of the most economically viable cities in the Cabo Verde archipelago. About one third (1/3) of the city's population lives below the poverty line today (2014). The gross metropolitan product for the city is about 39% of the country's GDP, translating into US$4764 income per capita.

TACV Cabo Verde, the national airline of Cabo Verde, has its headquarters in Praia.[9]

Infrastructure[edit]

Cabo Verde's Supreme Tribunal.

19th century[edit]

As of the mid-19th century, two roads accessed Praia, one from the east and one from the west, both traveling uphill. During this time, there were 45 cannons outfitting the roads for security of the region and the harbor. The harbor was utilized by ships from West Africa, South America, and the East Indies. September was the low visitation time for Praia by water, due to gale force winds that frequented during that month making harbor visits unsafe.[4]

Today[edit]

The city is served by Praia International Airport and TACV Cabo Verde Airlines.

Attractions and amenities[edit]

Praia's Municipal Palace, a gem of Portuguese Colonial Architecture.

Landmarks in the colonial city center include Albuquerque Square (name after the colonial governor of the mid 19th century, Caetano Alexandre e Almeida e Albuquerque), the old city hall built in the 1920s, the Presidential Palace, which was constructed in the end of the 19th century to house the Portuguese governor and the Monumento de Diogo Gomes, named after the Portuguese navigator who discovered the island of Santiago in 1460.

There is the Museu Etnográfico (Ethnographic Museum), which was founded in 1997. Some of the oldest buildings in Praia are Jaime Mota Barracks (Quartel Jaime Mota) dating from 1826.

Cabo Verde Telecom is headquartered in Praia just south of the plateau.

Sports[edit]

Praia is home to several sports teams. The most popular football (soccer) clubs include Sporting, Boavista, Travadores, Académica, Vitória and Desportivo; others include ADESBA, based in Craveiro Lopes; Celtic, based in Achadinha de Baixo; Tchadense, based out of Achada Santo Antônio; Delta, and Eugênio Lima, based in that neighbourhood. Basketball clubs include ABC Praia, Bairro and Travadores. Volleyball clubs include Desportivo da Praia. All are part of the Santiago League South Zone. Many clubs play at Estádio da Várzea.

Other or secondara stadiums includes Adega Sports Complex which is used for practices, Sucupira, Calabaceira, Achada Santo António, Ponta da Água (or Ponta d'Agua) and recently Achada Grande Frente[10]

Panorama[edit]

Gamboa panorama from Plateau on Praia, Cape Verde

Notable residents and visitors[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Praia is twinned with:

The city of Praia also has two official sister cities:[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2010 Census results". Instituto Nacional de Estatística Cabo Verde (in Portuguese). 17 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Sudgen, John (2004). Sir Francis Drake. Penguin Books. pp. 185–86. ISBN 978-1844137626. 
  3. ^ Habbel, Josef (1925). "Habbels Konversationslexikon". Regensburg. p. 1043. 
  4. ^ a b c Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 19–20. 
  5. ^ "Cape Verde – Praia". Centro de Investigaciones Fitosociológicas. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Average Conditions Praia, Cape Verde". BBC Weather. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ Source: City Population, citing the Instituto Nacional de Estatísticas.
  8. ^ "ESCOLAS COM CURRÍCULO PORTUGUÊS EM CABO VERDE" (Archive). Direção de Serviços de Ensino e Escolas Portuguesas no Estrangeiro (DSEEPE) of the Portuguese Education Ministry. Retrieved on October 27, 2015.
  9. ^ "Contact." TACV Cabo Verde. Retrieved on 23 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Relvado do campo de Achada Grande Frente foi inaugurad" [Achada Grande Frente Field Opened]. Oceanpress (in Portuguese). 12 February 2015. Retrieved 31 February 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  11. ^ "Geminações de Cidades e Vilas". Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  12. ^ "Lisboa – Geminações de Cidades e Vilas" [Lisbon – Twinning of Cities and Towns]. Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses [National Association of Portuguese Municipalities] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  13. ^ "Acordos de Geminação, de Cooperação e/ou Amizade da Cidade de Lisboa" [Lisbon – Twinning Agreements, Cooperation and Friendship]. Camara Municipal de Lisboa (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  14. ^ "Praia Sister Cities". Sister Cities International. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 

External links[edit]