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Meet Cidade Velha, the “Cradle” of Cape Verde

Meet Cidade Velha, the “Cradle” of Cape Verde

The island of Santiago was the first to be discovered and populated by the Portuguese. About 15 km from the city of Praia is what is known today as Cidade Velha. It was here that the Portuguese navigators arrived when they discovered Cape Verde.

Since 2009 it is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city, which started out as Ribeira Grande, is also the cradle for the Creole culture where European and African cultures come together.

It is estimated that there were about 500 houses in the 16th century, in addition to more than two dozen chapels and churches, some of which have since disappeared. Father António Vieira was one of the missionaries who passed through the town.

Its location made defense difficult and it was several times the target of pirate and corsair attacks, a situation that was alleviated with the construction of the S. Filipe Fortress.

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