Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo is the capital and largest city in Mozambique. It covers 346 sq km (133.6 sq mi) and has a population of 1.8 million people (2011 estimate). The city is located on the southern tip of Mozambique. It is often called the City of Acacias due to the large number of acacia trees growing along the roadside.

More on Maputo

Maputo was established in 1850 and named after its founder, the Portuguese explorer Lourenço Marques, whose name was also given to various settlements on the northern bank of the rivers emptying into Delagoa Bay. The earlier settlements were abandoned or destroyed by natives. The settlement of Maputo however had a fort built earlier in 1787, which helped defend the town from being wiped out by natives.

Maputo grew rapidly in the late 19th century, benefiting from its location, rail connections and its harbor. It superseded the island of Mozambique as the capital of Mozambique in 1898. Known as Lourenço Marques until independence in 1974, the city was originally intended to be renamed Can Phumo, but was instead renamed Maputo, after the Maputo River.

Equestrian statue at Maputo Fortress
Equestrian statue at Maputo Fortress
Author: JotaCartas (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

The post-independence Mozambique was plagued with political instability, with a civil war raging from 1977 to 1992. After the war was over, the country gradually inched forward in development. By the turn of the new millennium, some form of stability has been established, and the city of Maputo finally had a number of infrastructure projects lined up. The cityscape is also expected to transform with the construction of a number of high rises and first few skyscrapers.

Visiting Maputo

Most visitors arrive at the Maputo International Airport (MPM), which receives flights from Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Lisbon, among others.

Places of Interest in Maputo

  1. Jardim Tunduru
    A beautiful but small botanical garden.

  2. Maputo Railway Station
    A beautiful and elegant structure built during the colonial period.

  3. Mercado Central
    A place to observe the local go about their shopping, the central market sells all sorts of meats and vegetables.

  4. Museu de História Natural
    Museum celebrating the wildlife of Mozambique with displays of stuffed animals, birds and reptiles.

  5. National Art Museum
    Museum with a good but modest collection of Mozambican art.

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