Maputo – a city founded by the Portuguese and named by them Lourenço Marques is the capital and largest city of modern Mozambique. Situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean, this port city is a lively African metropolis attracting with diversity and a unique atmosphere. The most famous person born in Maputo in the world is Eusébio or Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, nicknamed “Black Panther” – the greatest Portuguese footballer of all time.
In Maputo, you can see several architectural gems, and one of them is certainly the city’s railway station, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The station was designed by the famous Gustave Eiffel in 1910. From the elegant main building, there are two platforms covered with a richly decorated iron roof supported by beautifully decorated columns and beams. Particularly interesting are the decorations from the era in which the station was built – wall clocks, large ceiling fans, beautiful Portuguese tiles, carved wooden doors, iron benches and large bells. This beautiful historic station is full of magic and melancholy, reminiscent of traveling through colonial Africa.
Another building in Maputo designed by the architects of the Gustave Eiffel school is the Iron House (Casa de Ferro), located in the city center in front of the first statue of Samora Machel – the liberator and first president of the country. Casa de Ferro was brought from Belgium in 1892 and was to be the seat of the then governor of the colony. The building has three floors and a gable roof. It can be accessed via a small metal external staircase that leads to the second floor. Decorative railings with balconies are the only decorations of the building.
Against the background of the blue sky in Maputo, the snow-white cathedral of Nossa Senhora de Conceição stands out and catches the eye. It is a Catholic church built in 1944 on the Central Independence Square. The cathedral stands near the French-Mozambique Cultural Center, which, in addition to French classes, also hosts performances, concerts, dance performances and various events, as well as exhibitions and art exhibitions.
There is also an interesting handicraft shop and a cafe. Particularly noteworthy are the works of the famous Mozambique artist Malangatan, whose works have been recognized as the national heritage of Mozambique. His works have been shown all over Africa and are in the collection of the National Museum of African Art in Washington. Malangatana also created numerous wall murals.
The museum houses several collections of embalmed animals and the only one in the world – a collection of 14 fetuses of elephants from the beginning of the 20th century. The exhibits present the stages of development from conception to the 22nd month of pregnancy. The museum also houses a collection that illustrates Mozambique’s local ethnic groups and tribes. You can see paintings and statues, as well as accessories, masks, tools and musical instruments.
Being in Maputo, you must also go to the colorful Mercado Central market. Here you can find a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and spices, as well as everyday products and arts and crafts. The market square is located in an architecturally interesting building built at the beginning of the 20th century. Interesting roof awnings illuminating its interior deserve special attention.
In the central part of the capital, in the Polana district, there is Vila Algarve. It is an elegant building built in 1934 and decorated with tiles. It was the seat of PIDE in Mozambique (Portuguese secret political police, existing during the Salazar dictatorship). Vila Algarve has witnessed many scenes of torture by Portuguese police against citizens who broke the orders of the fascist regime. Currently, the infamous building remains abandoned and is a refuge for the homeless.
In Mozambique, the official language is Portuguese, but in the streets you can hear regional dialects derived from Bantu. It is true that most of the inhabitants prefer typical European costumes, but due to the climate and tradition, Capulana women, i.e. fabrics with typical African patterns, are eagerly worn here. Grilled dishes and seafood are especially popular in the kitchen, and aromatic spices give the dishes a unique taste. Ingredients such as cassava, coconut, peanuts, mangoes, bananas, pineapple and corn are common. In Mozambique, it is worth trying especially the delicious bolo Polana cake and traditional dishes: malata, matapa, and guisado de carangejo.
Mozambicians love music and dancing, they like to organize music and dance festivals. They use dance to express their emotions, traditions and customs. There are many styles of dance, there are also many instruments and rhythms. Classical musical instruments are mainly made of wood, fruit and animal skins. The folk dance of Mozambique is Marrabenta, which is a combination of traditional rhythms with Portuguese folk music. The most famous artists who created this genre are Fany Pfumo, Dilon Djindji and Wazimbo. Later, this dance assumed a slightly more modern form and merged with the genres of pop music. Currently, it is performed by, among others, Eyuphuro and Orchestra Marrabenta Star de Moçambique. Marrabenta dance shows can be seen, among others, during the annual “Marrabenta Festival” in Maputo.
Being in Maputo in the evenings, it is worth visiting and relaxing in one of the many bars and clubs here in the popular Feira Popular. It is quite a large complex surrounded by walls, with dozens of small bars and restaurants, as well as amusement parks and concert halls. Another alternative is Nucleo de Arte – a meeting place for painters and artists. In this space there is an art gallery with interesting exhibitions that are changed every week. This place is eagerly visited by people associated with broadly understood culture, interesting discussions are held here and live concerts are held in the evenings.
Maputo is an extremely interesting place. The city offers a wide range of attractions, both during active sightseeing during the day and at night, when it offers purely relaxing entertainment. It is worth going to Maputo and feeling this unique Mozambique metropolis with all your senses.