Daily life in this busy commercial area revolves around the harbour and the central fruit and vegetable market, which has just been rebuilt following a fire in July 2005. At night there is a faint echo of what was known as the nights of the African Paris, when the golden youth of the 1960s flocked to the famous pubs and disco bars. Many of these have appeared in the work of the famous Mozambican photographer Ricardo Rangel, an intellectual and jazz lover who recently opened a music bar, Chez Rangel, inside the railway station in Praa dos Trabalhadores in the heart of the Baixa; the pictures form part of an exhibition in the bar illustrating the transformation of the colonial city of Loureno Marques to Maputo, the capital of the independent republic of Mozambique.
The railway station is a legacy of the colonial era; a large green building dating from the turn of the 20th century, it is now largely unused (only two freight trains leave each day, one for South Africa and the other in the direction of Zimbabwe, stopping short of the border) but it is clean and well guarded and the two ancient locomotives on display in the entrance, the dome designed by the French engineer Gustave Eiffel and the marble floors draw a steady stream of tourists. Nearby on Avenida Samora Machel stands the famous Casa do Ferro, also by Eiffel, a house made exclusively of metal plates for the Portuguese governor of Mozambique.
Most of the earliest buildings in the Baixa have been pulled down or are in ruins. However, the area around Fortaleza square opposite the commercial port, which marks the site of the original Portuguese settlement, is now being partly restored and rebuilt. The square hosts a large arts and crafts market on Saturday mornings.
In the nearby Praa da Independna stands the Centro Cultural Franco Mocambicano, one of the most famous restored buildings in the Baixa. The Centro is a bar, cinema, theatre, cultural centre, exhibition space, garden and more besides. The Roman Catholic cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima and the city hall are also in this square. There are two parks in the Baixa, the botanical gardens, Jardins Tounduru, and the Circuito deportivo opposite the ministry of youth and sport.
Housing is almost exclusively in apartments in five-ten storey buildings around Praa da Independna, Avenida Vladimir Lenine and Avenida Ho Chi Min, near the Tiger Centre shopping centre. At night Baixa is an area of petty crime.
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