Travel DestinationsHeritage SitesCidade Velha- The Finest Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande

Cidade Velha- The Finest Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande


The European countries have a treasure of places that are listed on the World Heritage Site. They have majestic palaces, a giant fortress, mesmerizing beaches and a town that reflects the European culture. Today we will be looking into one such historic centre. The Cidade Velha, the historic centre of Ribeira Grande is a unique place that is a must-visit. It is a European Colonial City that becomes the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. And the uniqueness of the place has gained the city a place in the Seven Wonders of the World that is of Portuguese origin.

And that is more than enough for us to tempt to visit the place and explore more

About Cidade Velha

Cape Verde
Cape Verde: Image Credit/

The town Cidade Velha was once known as the town of Ribeira Grande. It was a European colony in the 18th century. This beautiful city is located on the islands of Santiago. With beautiful streets and ports, the place is welcoming the tourist with extreme grandeur. The town remains you of the beautiful colonial-era that the place has shared.

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To understand a little more about the place, Ribeira Grande has a direct link to the history of African slaves and trade. However, Cidade Velha is considered a major part of the expansion of the countries like Europe and Africa. Due to the sea route, this becomes more feasible and easy for the town of Cidade Velha to connect with others for trade. Nevertheless, to get avid information about the historic events of the town, you need to explore the city’s best destinations.

The below listed are a few of them-

Quebra Canela

Quebra Canela
Quebra Canela: Image Credit/

It is a small city adjacent or subdivision to Praia with a very minimum population to its credit. This place is well known for its tranquil beaches. Tourists love to walk on the shores, during the sunset and sunrise. The pebble shores look beautiful and serene throughout the day. The beach is popular among the tourist as well as the locals.

Prainha Beach


The Prainha Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Cidade Velha. With a population of 300 and less, the place is best for a surreal and quality time. The Prainha is a place that has some important government official buildings situated in the heart of the place. And the most important landmark of the place is Dona Maria Lighthouse.

Pico da Antónia

Pico da Antónia
Pico da Antónia: Image Credit/

Cidade Velha has nature at its best. And Pico da Antónia is a fabulous tourist spot that attracts people from far away. It is the mountain that is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is 1300 m in height and is the highest part of the island too. About the origin of the mountain, it is believed that Pico da Antónia is a volcanic formation. Well, that took millions of years ago.

São Filipe Royal Fortress


The São Filipe Royal Fortress is a fortress that was a 16th-century formation. This beautiful fortress is a part of the World Heritage Site. The fort was once part of the place military system. It stands 120 meters in height from sea level. The main fort has incorporated small six forts within it. This fort is one of the major tourist destinations of Cidade Velha.

Also Read: Australian Convict Sites-World Heritage Site Built By The Convicts!


Pelourinho: Image Credit/

When it comes to architecture, Cidade Velha has some European-style designs and structures. The Pelourinho is a monument erected in the 15th century. And hence this monument is considered the oldest standing structure in the town. This structure is erected in the center of the main square. The beautiful white marble structure or pillar is a historic symbol as well as the cultural epitome of Heritage Town. And this structure plays an important role in listing to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lighthouse Dona Maria Pia

Lighthouse Dona Maria Pia
Lighthouse Dona Maria Pia: Image Credit/

Maria Pia is a lighthouse in the extreme corner of the islands of Cidade Velha. It was built in the year 1881, 2 kilometers from the Center of Praia. This lighthouse was built for navigational purposes. This white structure is a sight worth watching and that makes it the most visited place in the town. Dona Maria Pia lighthouse is a white fort that stands 26 meters above sea level. The lighthouse is also a part of world Heritage since 2009.

Museu Etnográfico da Praia

There is a museum in Cidade Velha which represents the art and culture of the place. It is an ethnographic museum. Which exhibits wonderful artifacts and objects that impart knowledge of the history, tradition and culture of the local people. Tourists visit the museum to dive for more information about the place.

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Cidade Velha is all about the fort, port, lighthouse and beaches. But what makes it different from the other places with such spots is its historical value. This little European town is an example of how well a historic center can be reserved and maintained. And how tourism can be practiced in such places without ruining the authenticity of the place for which it is known.
So, let Cidade Velha be your next heritage destination! And till you give it think it’s a bye from me.
Bon Voyage!

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