GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Luanda, the capital and largest city of Angola, was formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda. Located on Angola's coast with the Atlantic Ocean, it is the country's most populous and important city and the world's third most populous Portuguese-speaking city.

FABIO'S REVIEW

Red-Living
Yellow-Visiting

Luanda could be a nice town, with lovely sandy beaches and a well-preserved colonial heritage, boasting splendid examples of Portuguese architecture and a fortress overlooking the city. However, the oil and the civil war destroyed the country, which still suffers from extreme poverty, severe security issues, low hygienic conditions (many beaches are still used as latrines) and an overpriced cost of life (if you want to keep up with Western standards).

Just to give you an example: during the civil war, in the year 2000, a US colleague was paying 10,000 USD/month for a 2-bedroom condo: his building was very secure, although the numerous guards had the unhealthy habit to pee in the lounge and the corridors, so the urine smell was terrible. During my first trip in Luanda that same year, I was staying in a crappy hotel room at 100 USD/night with no running water. [By the way, special thanks to Graziella Boat for hosting me in her home in La Ilha at a reasonable rate during my subsequent trips.]

LOCATIONS EXPERIENCED

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Cathedral-of-the-Holy-Saviour-13244-cover

CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY SAVIOUR

The Cathedral of the Holy Saviour is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Luanda, Angola. It was built in 1628 and is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Luanda.

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Commie-streets-19779-cover-1

COMMIE STREETS

Angola has long been a Marxist-Leninist one party state, backed by both Cuba and the Soviet Union. Many roads are still named after the communist leaders and thinkers: from Lenin to Che Guevara, from Marx to Engels etc.

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Diplomatic-compound-19752-cover-1

DIPLOMATIC COMPOUND

A residential complex located in La Ilha, and used by the staff of the Italian Embassy. I lived there during several of my stays in Luanda. Most countries have their own diplomatic compound.

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Feira-Popular-de-Luanda-19756-cover

FEIRA POPULAR DE LUANDA

The city fair, now abandoned and waiting for renovation.

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FORTALEZA DE SAO MIGUEL & MUSEUM OF ARMED FORCES

The Fortaleza de Sao Miguel (Fortress of São Miguel) is a Portuguese fortress built in 1576 and was for many years a self-contained town protected by thick walls encrusted with cannons. Inside the fort, elaborate ceramic tiles tell the story of Angola from early years, and in the courtyard are large, imposing statues of Portugal's first king and other notables.

The Museum of Armed Forces is inside the Fortaleza de Sao Miguel: it includes bi-motor airplanes, combat vehicles, and diverse arms and artifacts used during Angolan wars.

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-La-Ilha-13171-cover-1

LA ILHA

La Ilha, also known as Ilha de Luanda, meaning Island of Luanda, is located at the foot of the Fortress of São Miguel. It consists of a low sandy strip formed by sedimentation. An area where residents can get away from the stresses of the capital, especially on weekends.

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Luanda-City-center-13386-cover-1

LUANDA CITY CENTER

Luanda city center is divided into two parts, the Baixa de Luanda (lower Luanda, the old city) and the Cidade Alta (upper city or the new part). The Baixa de Luanda is situated next to the port, and has narrow streets and old colonial buildings. However, massive new constructions have by now covered large areas beyond these traditional limits, and a number of previously independent nuclei.

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Luanda-slums-19773-cover

LUANDA SLUMS

The slums of Luanda are also known as musseques, meaning ""red district"" because of the color of the land used to build the dwellings. Characterized by uncontrolled urbanization with narrow and irregular unpaved roads, without any health infrastructure.

CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY SAVIOUR

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Cathedral-of-the-Holy-Saviour-13244-cover

The Cathedral of the Holy Saviour is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Luanda, Angola. It was built in 1628 and is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Luanda.

COMMIE STREETS

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Commie-streets-19779-cover-1

Angola has long been a Marxist-Leninist one party state, backed by both Cuba and the Soviet Union. Many roads are still named after the communist leaders and thinkers: from Lenin to Che Guevara, from Marx to Engels etc.

DIPLOMATIC COMPOUND

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Diplomatic-compound-19752-cover-1

A residential complex located in La Ilha, and used by the staff of the Italian Embassy. I lived there during several of my stays in Luanda. Most countries have their own diplomatic compound.

FEIRA POPULAR DE LUANDA

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Feira-Popular-de-Luanda-19756-cover

The city fair, now abandoned and waiting for renovation.

FORTALEZA DE SAO MIGUEL & MUSEUM OF ARMED FORCES

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Fortaleza-de-Sao-Miguel-Museum-of-Armed-Forces-19748-cover-2

The Fortaleza de Sao Miguel (Fortress of São Miguel) is a Portuguese fortress built in 1576 and was for many years a self-contained town protected by thick walls encrusted with cannons. Inside the fort, elaborate ceramic tiles tell the story of Angola from early years, and in the courtyard are large, imposing statues of Portugal's first king and other notables.

The Museum of Armed Forces is inside the Fortaleza de Sao Miguel: it includes bi-motor airplanes, combat vehicles, and diverse arms and artifacts used during Angolan wars.

LA ILHA

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-La-Ilha-13171-cover-1

La Ilha, also known as Ilha de Luanda, meaning Island of Luanda, is located at the foot of the Fortress of São Miguel. It consists of a low sandy strip formed by sedimentation. An area where residents can get away from the stresses of the capital, especially on weekends.

LUANDA CITY CENTER

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Luanda-City-center-13386-cover-1

Luanda city center is divided into two parts, the Baixa de Luanda (lower Luanda, the old city) and the Cidade Alta (upper city or the new part). The Baixa de Luanda is situated next to the port, and has narrow streets and old colonial buildings. However, massive new constructions have by now covered large areas beyond these traditional limits, and a number of previously independent nuclei.

LUANDA SLUMS

Fabios-LifeTour-Angola-2001-2003-Luanda-Luanda-slums-19773-cover

The slums of Luanda are also known as musseques, meaning ""red district"" because of the color of the land used to build the dwellings. Characterized by uncontrolled urbanization with narrow and irregular unpaved roads, without any health infrastructure.

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