The Iron House (Casa do Ferro) was designed by Gustave Eiffel in the late 1800’s as a home for the Portuguese Governor of Mozambique. It was completed in 1892. The building itself answers the question – did Eiffel ever go to Africa? He designed the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and Maputo’s grand Train Station. This is not his finest design in terms of form or function. Totally unsuitable for the heat, this elaborate hot box was never used for it’s original purpose. Like many Eiffel constructions this structure was manufactured in France and then shipped to it’s final destination. This probably explains why no one thought beforehand that it would be too hot to live in. Today it is used by the Mozambican Central Office of Historic Monuments with the help of modern air conditioning. It is located to the left of the entrance of the Botanical Gardens.
Scala is an art house cinema/arts centre that is named after the Teatro alla Scala (Scala Theatre) built in Milan under the auspices of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1776. The actuality does not live up to the grandeur of its namesake, but it is an art cinema in the true sense of the name. The day I visited my guide told me it was closed because it ran out of money (again), but I can find film times there for tomorrow on the internet, so it is open again! The building houses a cafe, restaurant, snack bar, a bakery and take-away service.
There is also a Production Company housed here called PROMARTE (Tel: +258 1 425365, Fax: +258 1 422434, M?vil: + 258 82 30 22 350, email@example.com). They recently produced a movie called ?O Jardim do Outro Homem? which tells the all too real tale of a woman contracting AIDS from a man who refuses to wear a condom.
So, if it is open, stop by and find out what movie is playing and what other activities are available.
Maputo's most evocative landmark is the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of Conception). This Portuguese fort (or Fortaleza) was built in the mid-18th century on top of earlier fortifications. Its striking architecture, battlements and cannons have a dominant position over the main harbour area.
Inside are several striking reliefs commemorating the defeat of Gungunhana (1850-1906), the king of Gaza (an area to the South of Maputo). He was aligned with the Portuguese King, but then rebelled against the colonial authorities. Loyal forces lead by Joaquim Mouzinho de Albuquerque put down the uprising and captured Gungunhana at Chaimite . The former King of Gaza later converted to Catholicism and lived in exile in the Azores until his death.
A commanding equestrian statue of Joaquim Mouzinho de Albuquerque lies in the small well kept gardens. The question is who is buried inside the gardens? I have read that it is Gungunhana, but he died in the Azores. Joaquim Mouzinho de Albuquerque failed as an Administrator and committed suicide in Lisbon. So who is buried with a Royal looking crest on their tombstone?
Standing in absolute contrast to the Communist Themed avenues and statues to great Mozambique leaders is the Louis Tregardt Trek memorial garden. A commemorative plaque in memory of the Voortrekker leader Louis Tregardt was unveiled on 12 October 1968 when South African Navy ships SAS Simon van der Stel, Kimberley and Mosselbaai visited Lourenço Marques (now Maputo).
Tregardt was a pioneer in the Boer ‘Great Trek’ movement. The Boers felt that the continued influx of British settlers and the emancipation of slaves in 1833 they need to leave for greener pastures. He formed a group of 9 families who set out for the Portuguese Colony of Delagoa Bay (Maputo) to establish trade links and find new lands. He is the acknowledged leader of the Voorste Mense (The Great Trek's `people in front'). He found Delagoa Bay in 1838, but he and many in his party died from Malaria.
More information can be found at:
Built in 1944 the tall white spire of Maputo’s Cathedral dominates Independence Square. It is dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Conception’ and was a very contemporary piece of architecture for its time. It is a working church and the seat of the Catholic Church for Mozambique. This iconic structure was designed by an engineer named Marcial Freitas e Costa in 1936. The tower reaches up to 66 meters (216 feet).
I am a sucker for trains, so it's no surprise that I made a point of seeking out the railway station, which was designed by Gustav Eiffel (of Paris Tower fame). It's smaller than you might expect, but beautifully proportioned nonetheless.
Of course it would have been even better if this has been the start or end of a romantic train trip, but for the moment, I was just content to look and contemplate the possibilities!
This is a proper working market frequented by local people to do their grocery shopping, so it's a great place to go people watching and get a sense of what the locals buy. If nothing else, you will be astounded by the sheer number of variations on a peri peri (VERY hot chilli sauce) theme are available!
It's a great place to buy food as souvenirs - peri peri (surprise!) and wonderful cashew nuts are obvious purchases, but if you're planning to take them back home with you, make sure you've checked out whether you'll be allowed to import them to your home country.
It is quite a crowded space, so it can feel quite claustrophobic and pickpockets are a potential problem.
The Museu de História Natural -MHN- (The Natural History Museum) was founded in 1911 and since 1933 it has been located in this Manueline style building (see photos).
Due to its thousands of items on display, this Museum is definitely one of Maputo's most popular landmarks.
Tickets are 50 MT (about 1.5 euros) per person.
At the entrance of the MHN - Museu de História Natural (The Natural History Museum), the visitor finds the access to the Museum's second floor (see photo).
The visitor is now facing a pair of elephant's tusks and also two embalmed antelope heads positioned as "looking" to each other.
The "Attack of the Lion" as described at the MHN - Museu de História Natural (The Natural History Museum):
To attack the animal that was chosen to be its prey, the Lion develops a short run, truly fulminate, followed by a jump on its victim.
If the prey is of small size, it will fall right there due to the weight of its aggressor and it will immediately turn dead due to the bites of the Lion.
However, if the prey is of a bigger size, the Lion's goal is to bring it down with a powerful stamping with its paw or with a bite on the prey's spinal column. By breaking the prey's spinal column, the Lion succeeds on immobilizing it and also on reducing the prey's defense capabilities.
On this scene, a Buffalo fights against 3 Lions for its survival.
The Buffalo is generally a quite pacific animal when is among its herd but it might turn quite violent when, for being old and abandoned by the herd, is left alone or when it is wounded or also when it feels its life is in danger.
This scene depicts a fight for survival and the Buffalo, despite having killed already a Lion, will ended up by losing the battle.
The Lions, on the other hand, had had carefully chosen their prey. Maybe because they couldn't find a weaker prey, the Lions were smart enough to form an attacking group since they know that with combined efforts they are stronger that the lonely Buffalo.
quote of the Info displayed on the Museum:
The Elephants collection
The Museum "elephants" collection has fourteen foetuses and clearly shows the anatomical transformation which takes place throughout the gestation period, which in this case is twenty two months.
This long period is justified for two main reasons: the animal is very large and it is an herbivore. [...]
The History of the Foetuses collection
The existence of this collection is due to the fact that, at the time of the First World War, the Agricultural of the colonial Government decided to "clean up" the area of south Maputo for agricultural projects. To put this into effect was established a team of hunters led supervisor Mr. Carreira.
During the "clean up" and being the most plentiful species in the area, around two thousand elephants were killed. Fortunately, the aforementioned Mr. Carreira had the happy inspiration to preserve in formaldehyde the foetuses he found. Nowadays it would be unthinkable to carry such a slaughter.
To make matter worse in this crime, that area in question never gained any form of agricultural approval.
It is from this sad event that there is today a unique collection in the world.
The Museu de História Natural -The Natural History Museum- has a Sawfish on display.
------ from wikipedia -----
Sawfishes are related to sharks and rays. These fish range from medium-sized to huge. Their most striking appearance is a long, toothy snout. [...]
Sawfishes are nocturnal, usually sleeping during the day, hunting at night. Despite fearsome appearances, they are gentle fishes and will not attack humans unless provoked or surprised. The Smalltooth Sawfish is well known by fishermen as a prize game fish because of the fight it puts up once hooked. Capturing sawfishes is illegal in the United States and Australia.
All species of sawfish are considered endangered, or critically endangered. As well as being accidentally caught in fishing nets sawfish are also hunted for their rostrum (which is prized as a curiosity by some), their fins (which are eaten as a delicacy), their liver oil and for use as medicine.
It is illegal to capture Sawfish in the United States and in Australia. The sale of smalltooth sawfish rostra is also prohibited in the United States under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); the sale of other sawfish rostra remains legal however due to the fact that most rostra on the American market are from the smalltooth sawfish. Very few laymen can differentiate the species from which the rostra originated and it is therefore generally advised not to purchase sawfish rostra at all.
Loss of habitat is another threat to sawfish conservation.
Sawfishes are difficult to conserve in aquaria because it appears they may require a blend of saltwater and freshwater to stay healthy. However, the amount and duration of exposure are uncertain.
Click here for more Sawfish Info at wikipedia.
The Museu de História Natural -The Natural History Museum- has also on display a sample of the Coelacanth, a fish that was thought to have been extinct since the Cretaceous Period but found in 1938 off the coast of southern Africa.
When first found, in 1938, the fish was referred to as a "living fossil".
I recommend this great website on the Coelacanth: www.dinofish.com and also Fishy Facts: The Coelacanth
Reproduction: [Click here to read more about the Coelacanth at the Wikipedia].
Coelacanths give birth to live young. Its reproductive behaviors are not well known, but it is believed that they are not sexually mature until after 20 years of age. Gestation time is 13 months, females give birth to between 5 and 25 babies, which are capable of surviving on their own immediately after birth. (Wikipedia).
The Makonde are a traditional ethnic group from Cabo Delgado, the very northern Mozambican province that borders with Tanzania.
A particularity about the Makonde is that the people of this ethnic group do cut their teeth the way it's shown on this Tip.