Exploring Tourism in Cape Verde
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Places to Visit Details

Royal Fortress Of São Filipe

Santiago Island, Cape Verde

The Royal Fort of São Filipe was built in 1587, in a dominant position of about 120 meters above sea level, it was the first and most important fortification of the archipelago. It headed the city's defensive system, consisting of six more small forts scattered at various strategic points in Cidade Velha. In architectural terms, it has a polygonal plan with a bastioned layout with two facades facing the campaign and two walled fronts with shooting parapets, facing the city center. It has a bastion in the center facing east and two half bastions with a public telephone at the opposite ends of the curtains. The other two sides of the quadrilateral where the fortress is inscribed follow the steep terrain.

The interior of the fortification is accessed through two doors: the main gate, torn in the southwest wall, towards the side of the city. On the embankment, below the walls, is the Casa do Governador (next to the southern half-bastion) and, on its border, the chapel of São Gonçalo. Still on the landfill, approximately in the center, a cistern opens. To the southeast, the powder magazine and warehouses rise, and to the west, in the same alignment, the troop barracks. To the north and west, a wall 150 meters high closed the defense. The square is believed to have been filled with nine 18-gauge pieces.

Nowadays it underwent conservation and restoration intervention between 1968 and 1970, and more recently, in 1999. The latter was registered under the recovery plan of Cidade Velha, at the initiative of the Ministry of Culture of Cape Verde, under the coordination of the Portuguese architect Siza Vieira, with resources and execution under the responsibility of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation.

Arriving at Cidade Velha, the first place to visit will be to the Royal Fortress of São Filipe. Built originally to defend the city against pirate attacks, the fort makes an excellent viewing point for photo stop.

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