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MAPUTO PLACES TO SEE

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Maputo bay from a satelite image

 

Maputo Bay Jan 1990

courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Maputo:
This is the capital city of Mozambique with a population of about two million people and a large harbour.
In 1898 central authority for Mozambique was transferred from Mozambique Island to Delago Bay (Lourenco Marques) and the city quickly became established as the trade and industry centre and as a port to serve the gold fields of South Africa.
In the early days transport riders made the journey with ox wagons, running the risks of malaria tsetsie fly and lions. After the construction of the Eastern Line from Delago Bay to Pretoria, transport became safer and more profitable. There is the memorial Josina Machel Street, to the Voortekker Leader, Louis Trichardt and his trek that tried to find a route to the sea through Mozambique and eventually came to grief when most of the trekkers died of malaria in the then Delago Bay (Maputo) in 1838.

The city was called Lourenco Marques, "LM", before independance and was then a sought after tourist destination.
Under Portuguese influence, Lourenco Marques became one of Africa’s most beautiful and fashionable cities with a cosmopolitan Continental atmosphere, pavement cafes, and a thriving tourist industry.The famous Polana Hotel was one of the tourist social highlights and the nightclubs pulsed with action until the early hours.
Maputo's streets are lined with lovely avenues of trees including, Palm trees, Jacarandas and Flame trees.

The civil war in the 1970s and 1980s changed all that. When peace finally came, the once beautiful Mozambican city was in terrible disrepair. Thousands of immigrants crowded the buildings, litter and filth lay everywhere and major services including water and electricity were non existant. Signs of the struggle still show by the bullet holes and marks on the walls of many buildings of the city. These damaged buildings include not only private homes but also some markets, museums, palaces and even synagogues.

 

Pickpockets are rife in some areas so common sense and caution should be exercised when visiting these areas, ask at your hotel or at a tourist information centre.


The brighter side is that the city is being rebuilt, with the hope that it can again capture it's attraction and success as a very popular tourist destination.


Today the city is slowly recreating some of its former glory. The tourists are once more visiting the five-star Polana Hotel, with its view over the harbour.

 

PLACES TO SEE IN MAPUTO

Caution should be exercised when visiting these areas, ask at your hotel or at a tourist information centre.

The National Museum of Art. This museum houses a large collection of works by Mozambican artists such as Malangatana, Naguib Mucavele and Chissano.

It is situated at 1233 Av Ho Chi Minh.

2. The Iron House (Casa de Ferro). This was designed by Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame, in 1892 (He incidentally never visited Mozambique). It is made up entirely of steel walls and roof, all bolted together and was originally

The Iron House (Casa de Ferro)

intended as the Governor's house. Being made of steel it was far to hot and impractical to use in the hot sub tropical climate of Maputo.It is in R.Cap near to Samora Machel's statue.

3. Cathedral of Our Lady of Conception - Nossa Senhora da Conceicao. This is a well known landmark with a tall single spire, set in Praca da Independencia (Independence Square).
The Gothic-towered building boasts an elaborate stained glass interior.

Nossa Senhorha da Conceicao (Our lady of Conception)

4. The Statue of Samora Machel. He was Mozambique's first President from 1975 to 1986, when he died in an air crash in South africa under suspicious circumstances. .Situated at the top end of Av. Samora Machel.

First president of Independant Mozambique Samora Machel

5.City Hall (Conselho Municipal). This building houses the Mayor chambers or in colonial days the governor. It is a distinctive rather austere building in a classical style of those times. It was completed in 1945 and had

6. Louis Trichardt Trek Memorial
This memorial is on Av. Josina Machel, to the Voortrekkers Leader, Louis Trichardt and his trek who tried to find a route to the sea through Mozambique,and

the words "Aqui e Portugal" (This is Portugal) inscribed on the front of the building. These have subsequently been removed. This building is situated off Av. Ho Chi Minh.

eventually came to grief when most of the trekkers died of malaria in the then Delagoa Bay (Maputo) in 1838.

7. Jardim Tunduru Botanical Gardens. These were laid out in 1885 by a very well known Englishman called Thomas Honney.Thomas Honney designed many well known gardens of the day including a garden for the

Jardim Tuduru Botanical Gardens

8. Museu da Moeda (Money Museum) is also known as Casa Amarela or Yellow House and is accepted as being the oldest standing building, still in use in Maputo. It is on R. Consiglieri Pedroso. It has been beautifully restored with old street lamps above the doors.

Museu da moeda (money Museum also known as Casa Amarela

Sultan of Turkey and the Greek King. The gardens are behind the Statue of Samora Machel.

9. Praca dos Trabalhadores (Workers Square).previously called PRACA DOS MacMahon
At the bottom end of Guerra Popular you will find the Statue commemorating Mozambican soldiers who fell in the First World War. This statue is of a woman who had killed a large snake believed to have been a cobra, that had been terrorising the local

Praca dos Trabalhadores (Workers Square) formally known as Praca dos MacMahon.

10. CFM Railway Station (Caminho de Ferro de Mocambique). This Victorian style building was also designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1910 he used wrought iron for the roof dome and marble for the outside pillars and arches. Inside the entrance are early wood burning steam engines, which were used at the turn of the 20th century to haul freight.

Caminho de Ferro de Mocambique (CFM Station)

population. The cobra was said to have fallen into a pot of boiling porridge that she was carrying on her head. Many strange and mysterious things have happened in Darkest Africa!!!

11. The Fortress - Fortaleza. This is a well known landmark, originally built built in 1781 during the early colonial era, when Portugal was still a major sea power and which was the nucleus of the original settlement.

It is recognised as one of the oldest buildings in Maputo and is of the same style as other Portugese forts built along Mozambiques coast. It is now a military museum and is situated in Praca 25 de Juno. This square was so named to commemorate the anniversary of Mozambique's independance.

12.There is a plaque to the side the front door of the British High Commision in Maputo commemorating the escape of Winston Churchill, during the Boer War.


On 15 November 1899, Churchill, who later became Prime Minister of England, escaped from the Boers, who had captured him at Chieveley in Natal, to Lourenco Marques.

 

There are also some excellent restaurants - and expensive, as everything is quoted in US$- where you can enjoy Mozambican beer and peri-peri prawns. The infamous Fere de Populare has dozens of bars and discos where Mozambicans dance well into the night to seductive Latino beats. These places are lots of fun and quite safe, but men seldom escape without at least one proposition from the many prostitutes.

A regular ferry service takes visitors from Maputo’s fishing harbour to Inhaca Island to see the fascinating maritime museum, historic lighthouse and to have lunch or overnight at the hotel.
Other visitors head south into the swamplands of the 236,000-hectare Maputo Elephant Reserve where rolling green hills meet the sea. Crocs, hippos, side-striped jackals, antelope and up to 200 elephants are found here. The area is currently being restored and there are plans to introduce more animals, and open lodges in the future. Visitors fly in directly to the airport.

 

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