Guinea-Bissau: Around the city of Bissau

Bissau is relatively small and easy to explore on foot – there are several interesting attractions as well as the port. The buildings are crumbling and covered with red dust, yet still colorful and authentic. The port has several decaying old boats. There is an impressive old Portuguese fort – Fortaleza d’Amura – but access and any photography is strictly prohibited (it contains the remains of the revolutionary leader Amilcar Cabral). Guinea-Bissau became independent the last of the West African countries in a military uprising. Upon victory, the new leader quickly aligned with The Soviet Union and Cuba, and remained in power ever since. The communist/socialist soviet-style architecture and symbols are everywhere – there are several large squares with Stalinist monuments dedicated to the revolution – a fist, a soviet-style statue of lady-victory, presidential palace (bombed out during the coup and now empty and guarded by a UN military truck). Oh and there is a spectacular catholic cathedral. There is also a Che Guevara square, although the revolutionary’s image is mostly covered with local ads for parties and concerts. The coat of arms resembling the old Soviet one is prominently displayed everywhere. Walking around really reminded me of Cuba.

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