In February 1966, when the Boeing 707 Varig parked in the courtyard of Dakar Airport (Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport, located in the suburb of Yoff, north of the city), Senegal, and opened the door (back then there was the bridges that connect the aircraft to airports) entered a breath of warm air that hit me straight because I was first in line to go down. I was giddy up, because there was doing a heat of at least forty degrees and I had a trip through the European winter. This was my first contact with an African city, a contact that I can guarantee, it was unforgettable.

          Dakar is a city with more than 2.5 million inhabitants located on the peninsula of Cape Verde, which is the most western point of the African continent. The city has always served as a stopover for trips to Europe, at a time when airplanes were not empowered to fly direct from Brazil to Europe and even later, when the planes had autonomy to direct flights to most Western capitals like Lisbon and Paris, where the flights departing from more distant cities such as London, Rome, Frankfurt and Athens.

          The city of Dakar was developed under French rule around the Fortress of Goree Island, originally founded by the Portuguese, since the browser Dinis Dias landed there in 1444. Replaced the city of Saint-Louis as the capital of the French colony of west in 1902. It was the capital of Mali from 1959 to 1960, later becoming the capital of Senegal.

          Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, Dakar was a major center for the slave trade throughout America. The Senegalese government has restored and transformed into a museum in the fort of Estrées Goree Island, where slaves were gathered to be sent on slave ships. Another important fact is that Dakar is the arrival point of the Dakar Rally, the most famous rally in the world and more difficult, which occurs at the beginning of each year.

          One of the main attractions is Lake Retba Dakar, which is a very salty lake, whose waters are pink and just north of the city, the lake must be the strangest planet. Its amazing pink color is due to algae Dunaliella Salina, which has a red pigment and that uses the sun to create energy and thus will leave the lake with one aspect of strawberry milkshake.

         Another attraction is the Dakar African Renaissance Monument, situated on top of one of the two twin hills des Collines calls Mamelles the outskirts of Dakar. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, in the suburb of Ouakam, was designed by architect Pierre Senegalese Goudiaby following a suggestion made by President Abdoulaye Wade and built by a company from North Korea at a cost of 27 million dollars. This magnificent monument was inaugurated in 2010 and did not exist when I was in Dakar.

          The Museum of Arts of Africa, belonging to IFAN - Fundamental Institute of Black Africa, is another interesting attraction of Dakar, which gathers 9,000 art objects, of which 300 are presented to visitors permanently. This museum displays objects of everyday life from pre-history, telling the story of the various tribes that gave rise to the African people today, a museum that can be considered small, but very interesting, especially for those interested in the arts of Africa, in Special West Africa.

Lupércio Mundim

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