Cidade Velha The UNESCO Heritage in Cape Verde, attraction for tourists

Dramatically situated on the sea, Cidade Velha (literally ‘Old City’) has won UNESCO World Heritage status as the first European settlement in the tropics. Founded in 1462, the city became wealthy as a clearing-house and key victualing station for the transatlantic slave trade.

Raids by pirates – including a particularly destructive visit from Sir Francis Drake in 1585 – eventually forced the Portuguese to move shop to Praia. Remains from its heyday include the ruins of the cathedral, constructed in 1693, and the pillory on the old town square where enslaved captives were chained up and displayed. Perhaps more impressive is the town’s position between the sea and the mouth of a canyon that, thanks to irrigation, remains green even in the driest months. For sweeping views, take the trail up to the dramatic, cliff side fort, Fortaleza Real de Sao Filipe.

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