Cidade Velha

Cidade Velha (Portuguese for “old city”, in Cape Verdean Creole: Sidadi) is a town in the southern part of the island of Santiago, Cape Verde. It is situated on the south coast, 10 km west of the capital Praia. A former capital of Cape Verde, it is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde. Once called Ribeira Grande, its name was changed to Cidade Velha so to avoid confusion with Ribeira Grande on Santo Antão island. It is the seat of the Ribeira Grande de Santiago municipality. Located off Africa’s northwest coast, this town was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics. Some of the meticulously planned original design of the site is still intact, including a royal fortress, two towering churches and a 16th-century town square. Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and center for Creole culture. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.