Praia is a large seaport and Cape Verde Islands capital city located on Santiago Island (west Africa), with population around 145,000. Santiago Island has a mountainous interior with two large mountain chains and highest elevation point (Pico d'Antonia) 1392 m / 4567 ft. Island's scenery features rugged coastline, palm beaches, botanical gardens, rural villages, colourful markets, lively nightlife in Praia City.
- Santiago Island has total population around 373,000 (half Cape Verde's total population), land area 991 km2 (383 ml2), length 75 km (47 ml), width 35 km (22 ml). Santiago is one of Cabo Verde's Sotavento islands and is located between Maio Island (40 km / 25 ml to the west) and Fogo Island (50 km / 31 ml to the east).
- The island was discovered by the Portuguese around 1460 AD, when a garrison was built in Ribeira Grande (current-day Cidade Velha). Slavery trade made the city the second richest in the Portugal's territories. When island was captured by the British (Francis Drake), the country's first ever fortress was built (Fort Real de Sao Filipe) in 1590. In 1712, due to constant attacks by French pirates, the Cape Verde's capital was moved from Cidade Velha to Praia (becoming officially a capital city in 1770).
- The island's main industries are agriculture (corn, sugar cane, coffee, tropical fruits - bananas, mangoes), tourism (icnluding by cruise ship passengers), commercial fishing, as well as some manufacturing.
- Cidade Velha - the old Portuguese capital of Cape Verde - lies about 10 km (6 ml) west from Praia. It features a grand cathedral, ruins of 14th century Jesuit college and the magnificent fortunes of Cidade Velha. For more than 200 years merchant galleons visited Santiago Island in order to barter and purchase manpower imported from West Africa. Sir Francis Drake, Vasco de Gama and Captain Cook also docked in Cidade Velha on their voyages of discovery.
- Tarrafal is a port town located on a hillside and is traditionally devoted to fishing. The green valley with coconut palms opens out into the blue bay across a beach of white sand.
Next photo shows the FSC Architects project for building on the man-made Santa Maria island (in Praia Bay) the premium Cape Verde Integrated Resort.
The project includes a world=class casino hotel with several premium restaurants, wellness complex, large outdoor swimming pool with nighclub, walled city (housing retail shops, 4-star hotel, wedding chapel, conference center, national museum, apartments), village-type streets. On the coastline will be built office building, apartments, clubhouse.
Praia cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Santiago Island Cabo Verde dock (anchor) at Praia - port city on the southern coast.
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