The Iron House (Casa do Ferro) was designed by Gustave Eiffel in the late 1800’s as a house for the Portuguese Governor of Mozambique. 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. 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.
*The answer is a very big no.
The City Hall of Maputo (Conselho Municipal) is a neo-classical building with massive pillars at the front. The building was completed in 1945 and is set in grounds along the Praça da Independência and just opposite the Cathedral. It houses the city government and has sometimes been the seen of political ands social demonstrations. Other than that, it is a fairly dull looking building.
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 café, 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, Móvil: + 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.
The best, and really only, street maps of Maputo on the internet is provided by Via Michelin, the same Michelin folks who make car tyres good enough to drive across Africa. Please click on the link below and you wish you had found this website years ago. Good job Michelin!
(Please note the pictures are just gerenal ones on Maputo)
Looking for Souvenirs and “crafts”? You will find it at the back of the Municipal Market. For some reason they try to hide this fairly large section of souvenirs and art objects. Paintings, wooden handicrafts and all sorts of items from real handmade artefacts to absolute kitsch. The odd bit of North American Indian Dreamcatchers are side by side with plastic keychains and wooden Rondavels (traditional round thatch houses).
Because of its location the section practically buzzes when real tourists enter. They are happy to quietly negotiate a price with you. The atmosphere is very polite and you should negotiate accordingly.
PLEASE NOTE: THIEVES OPERATE AT THE ENTRANCE AND ARE VERY EASY TO SEE
What to buy:
I bought 4 wooden Rondavels (pictured) for $3. The selection runs from traditional to total tourist. There are about 15 stalls.
What to pay:
It’s all negotiable!