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Luanda is the capital of Angola. It is on the Angola's Atlantic coast. Its current renaissance is a truly inspiring success story. In recent history, the center of decades of conflict, the start of the 21st century has seen a massive boom in construction in Luanda, where peace and stability have attracted numerous foreign companies to invest in offices in the city. The government of Angola, getting rich off revenue from oil, diamond, and other natural resources, is also investing heavily in and around Luanda, including large social housing highrises to replace slums and existing dilapidated (and often bullet-ridden) highrises; extensive repaving; the construction of several six-lane highways leading out of the city; the reconstruction of railroad lines leading out of the city; and a large new airport on the south side set to open in 2011. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Luanda
- Augostinho Neto Mausoleum, ☎ +244222334835. Upon arrival in Luanda, it is impossible to miss the towering obelisk-like structure shooting above the rest of the city. If you're curious to know what it is and why it is there, it's a mausoleum dedicated to Augustinho Neto, the first President of Angola who helped in Angola's struggle for independence.
- Fortaleza de São Miguel. Built in 1576, it became the administrative center of Luanda during the early part of colonial rule and was a self-contained city for the early military garrison and an important holding place for slaves. It contains ornate wall tiles detailing the history of the city along with many relics, such as cannons and the original holding cells for slaves.
- National Museum of Slavery (Museu Nacional da Escravatura), ☎ +244222371622. 9AM to 6PM. Built in the area where the slaves were held prior to being taken off to the Americas. The museum building is the Capa de Casa Grande, which is where they baptized slaves prior to sending them off to the Americas. Currently (Aug., 2011) the museum is worth seeing for the chapel itself and the cannons on the outside. In the center of the chapel is a fascinating stone font, but with no description. There are a few period objects of real interest (such as stocks, a whip, shackles), but the framed prints on the walls are mostly copies from published works, with relatively little accompanying information. On a mid-week visit there was no evidence of any knowledgeable guide, and no one available to turn on the video flatscreen monitor that seems to be part of the exhibit. Still, the high, windswept location is beautiful.
- National Museum of Natural History, ☎ +244222334055. A museum filled with thousands of species of animals, including fish, birds, crustaceons, and insects. Many of the displayed animals are endangered, and some are even extinct. The museum does an impecable job of displaying the large amount of diverse organisms that inhabit and once inhabited this nation.
- National Museum of Anthropology (Museu Nacional de Antropologia), ☎ +244222337024. Dedicated to educating people about Angolan history and culture, the National Museum of Anthropology features an impressive array of traditional masks along with art, sculptures, tools, weaponry, jewelry, clothing, and musical instruments. Free.
- Fortaleza de São Pedro da Barra. A fortress that served a variety of purposes throughout its history. It was originally constructed in the 17th century to protect the area from invaders. When the slave trade began, it was then used as a keep for the slaves until they were ready to send them away. Throughout Angola's struggle for independence against Portugal from 1961-1975, the fort housed nationalists who were arrested and then forced into labor camps.
- Igreja Nossa Senhora do Pópulo (Igreja da Sé). Considered to be the first Anglican Church, it is one of Luanda's most treasured cultural and historical sites. The current structure dates back to 1482. Aside from its religious significance, the unique Baroque architecture and the lavish interior attract many visitors.
- Igreja do Carmo. Built in 1669, this church
- Igreja da Nazare. A church built in 1664. It is famous for its beautiful altar made of Italian rose marble.
- Humbi-Humbi Art Gallery.
Drive down the beautiful bay.
Additionally, you MUST try the Benfica market, which sells everything from perfume to ivory to animal skins and tourist guidebooks. Also take the boat out to Mussulo, the best beach in town.
Popular events in Luanda in the near future
Luanda was founded in 1575 under the name São Paulo de Loanda by a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers. Two forts were constructed in the early 17th century and the city became Portuguese Angola's administrative center in 1627. From the late 16th century until 1836, Luanda was port where nearly all slaves bound for Brazil left. Aside from a brief period of Dutch rule (1640–48), this time period was relatively uneventful, with Luanda growing much like many other colonial cities, albeit with a strong Brazilian influence as a result of the extensive shipping trade between these Portuguese colonies. With the independence of Brazil in 1822 and the end of slavery in 1836 left Luanda's future looking bleak, but the opening of the city's port to foreign ships in 1844 led the a great economic boom. By 1850, the city was arguably the most developed and one of the greatest cities in the Portuguese empire outside Portugal itself and fueled by trade in palm and peanut oil, wax, copal, timber, ivory, cotton, coffee, and cocoa. Post-emancipation (resisted by the Portuguese but enforced by the British) forced labour began. Numerous imported crops grew well in the surrounding area to support residents, such as maize, tobacco, and cassava. In 1889, an aqueduct opened, supplying fresh water and removing the only inhibitor to growth in the city. The city blossomed even during the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–74), which did not affect the city, and this modern city was even labeled the "Paris of Africa" in 1972.
After so much success, the city took a turn for the worse in the mid-1970s. While largely untouched during the Carnation Revolution (Angolan independence), the start of the Angolan Civil War in 1975 scared almost all Angola's population of Portuguese descent out of the country as refugees (including the majority of Luanda's population). This led to an immediate crisis as Angola's African population knew little about how to run or maintain the city. They were helped a little by skilled Cuban soldiers who were able to help the MPLA government maintain some of the city's basic services, but hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled fighting in the countryside created slums stretching for miles on all sides of the city. The city saw some sporadic fighting during the Civil War which left bullet holes in many highrises and government building. When peace was reached in 2002, the government began planning to rebuild using oil revenues. Today Luanda's skyline is dotted with cranes, erecting numerous social housing highrises to replace slums and existing, but grossly dilapidated, 40-plus year old highrises as well as offices for numerous foreign companies operating in Angola. Just South of Luanda in an area aptly called Luanda Sul, Western-standard housing, many compound style, is being built for the growing expat community. Major improvements are being made to roads, highways, and the rail system in and around the city but there is yet an overwhelming amount of work to be done. And while certainly still home to a large impoverished population (59%), free housing and the creation of thousands of new jobs each year means that Luanda may in years to come have a bright future ahead.
The climate is largely influence by the offshore Benguela current. The current gives the city a surprisingly low humidity despite its low latitude, which makes the warmer months considerably more bearable than similar cities in Western/Central Africa. The city receives an average of 323mm (12.7 in) of rain a year, mostly in March and April and no rain from June through October. However, this is quite variable depending on the strength of the current and the coefficient of variation is 40% (there can be a sixfold difference between rain received in the driest of years and wettest of years). The temperatures are fairly stable year-round, with the coldest months being July (24 max/19 min)and August and the warmest months being January (31 max/25 min) to April.
The majority of restaurants are on The Marginal or on Ilha De Luanda. Be careful; when eating out, do not to drink the tap water.
- Ilha de Luanda is where Luanda's elite go to dine and have fun.
The Belas Shopping mall has a food court with a variety of options from local foods to pizza and burgers.
- Panela de Barro
- Chez Wu Chinese
- Macau Chinese
- Cais de Quatro
- Espaço Baia.
- Chill Out (Party)
- Don Quixote
- eden Club, ilha de Luanda, ☎ +244924991999. 22h00. Discoteca;Dj licinho bruno AG Clessio dance, semba, house, and salsa. 22usd.
Luanda city is largely influenced by Portuguese culture, - Portuguese beer is widely consumed, although Heineken and Carlsberg make an appearance. Super Bock, Sagres, and Cristal (most consumed) are the most consumed beers from Portugal. Besides, you may find a broad range of local beers such as Nocal, Cuca (the most consumed - especially the excellent draught version, or "fino" in Portuguese)and Eka. Surrounding countries also try to find lucrative market, so don't be surprise when in other beer brands are served in local restaurants. Try Portugalia (Portuguese Beer House) at the beginning of the Ilha, or either of the two boat clubs just on the Ilha for a nice sundowner (Clube Nautico and Clube Naval).
Don't forget the excellent Portuguese wines also widely available.
Local crafts, they are at extraordinary low prices, check out the Benfica HandCrafts Market just south of Luanda.
- Doniel Tomas (Constantino), Maianga Luanda, ☎ +244924091680.
- Belas Shopping. 9AM to 10PM. Opened in 2007, it is Angola's first shopping mall. It features nearly 100 different shops, a movie theater, a variety of restaurants, and a central square for live entertainment.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Luanda on Wikivoyage.