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"Mozambique, Africa's rising star"

Published25 Nov 2011

Tags arte guerra moçambique turismo

How Mozambique turned from war zone to tourist hotspot

(CNN) -- Once marred by conflict, Mozambique is slowly emerging as a popular tourist destination as people are drawn in by the tropical weather, beautiful beaches and rich culture.

Mozambique's capital, Maputo is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city bursting with lively sidewalk cafes and jazz venues.

One of Maputo's landmark buildings is the train station designed by an associate of the famous French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.

Today the train station he inspired rarely sees trains, instead its jazz cafe is among the city's best night spots.

The music likely to be performed there is marrabenta, a mix of traditional and urban dance music that was born in the capital.

"It's really become a national genre," said Joao Carlos Schwalba, a musician with the band Ghorwane.

"It was created in the south but slowly it has such a strong rhythm, it really became a national rhythm you can hear it in the south, the center and the north," he continued.

The official language is Portuguese, after settlers first arrived in Mozambique in the 15th century.

Colonial era architecture and relics can be found across the country but the nation has also preserved much of its African cultural heritage, making for an interesting and diverse mix of old and new.

The city has undergone major redevelopment since the end of the civil war and any reminders of the country's brutal past are being carefully transformed in to points of interest. And it is proving a draw with tourists; government figures show that four times as many tourists visited the country in 2010 compared to 2004.

Investment in tourism began in 1992, following a peace agreement, which brought an end to 16 years of civil war in the country.

The old fort in the capital, built by the Portuguese nearly 200 years ago, is a symbol of the country's, sometimes violent, colonial past.

But a group of Mozambique artists are working in the building to transform reminders of Mozambique's more recent civil war into pieces of art.

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