São Tomé and Principe is a small island situated in the Gulf of Guinea. After being discovered in the 15th century by the Portuguese, São Tomé and Principe became an outpost of the slave trade. Under Portuguese rule, prominent exports such as sugar cane, cocoa and coffee etc. were made.
With it’s catching natural beauty, the island country is slowly gaining the attention of the outside world with each passing day. Thousands of tourists have been sighted in the country, touring and enjoying the views.
With a bit of background histroy to them, the following are some of the interesting but memorable buildings you will find in São Tomé and Principe.
- The National Lyceum: The National Lyceum is a secondary school in the city of São Tome. With a current enrollment of 6000, it is one of the oldest schools in the country. Also for thirty six years, up until 2011, this lyceum was the only secondary school in the country. Tomé Vera Cruz, Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe from 2006-2008, class of 1975 is one notable alumni of the school.
- Presidential Palace of São Tomé and Principe: The building is a 19th century Portuguese colonial style structure. In the colonial period, it served as the residence of the Governor of the Portuguese São Tome and Principe. This was until 1975 when the country achieved independence. The structure now serves as the official residence of the President of the Republic.
- Our Lady of Grace Cathedral: Our Lady of Grace Cathedral is a church in São Tomé and Principe and a walking distance from the Presidential Palace of São Tomé and Principe. The church has seen several modications since it’s first construction in the fifteenth century. The last restructuring was in 1956. The church stands at Praça de Povo,(People’s Square) in the city centre.
- National Library of São Tomé and Principe: This building is definitely for the book lovers and enthusiasts. It is the most important library in the colony, housing around 5000 books.The national library also serves as the legal deposit of the country, according to a law created in 1952 during colonial rule. In addition to these, the national library has a project in place to promote reading amongst the children and teenagers in the country.
- Supreme Court of São Tomé and Principe: The Supreme Court is housed in the former Misericórdia, a church and hospital complex dating from 1504. The present building dates probably from the 17th or 18th century, and was restored in the 1930s.The Supreme Court consists of five judges, that are appointed by the National Assembly.