Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa and just over one million residents live there. Freetown was founded in the 1780's as a home for freed slaves from North America and the Caribbean. The freed slaves who settled Freetown were called Krio and they brought their unique language with them (also called Krio or Creole) which is the predominant language of Freetown today.
Freetown is situated on a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean and is Africa's largest natural harbor.
Freetown is etched in many peoples minds as the backdrop to one of the world's most horrendous civil wars which included a military operation called "Operation No Living Thing". The civil war lasted from 1991-2002 and left hundreds of thousands of civilians dead and many more maimed for life. The war was basically about controlling the lucrative diamond trade. Check out Sorious Samura's incredible documentary "Cry Freetown" for more.
Claim to Fame
In 1792 when freed slaves came to settle Freetown, they built their houses around a cotton tree which still stands today.
Travel to Freetown
Freetown bears the scars of the civil war but it is slowly regaining its vibrancy. There are still lots of war refugees in town but there is an optimism present despite the noise, traffic jams and general Lumley Beach is particularly popular. Many of the better hotels are situated on, or close to the beach. Lush, green mountains provide a nice backdrop to the city.
Major sights in Freetown include The Cotton Tree (see above), the National Museum, several churches and mosques that date back to the 1820's, and West Africa's oldest University, Fourah Bay College founded in 1827. Markets in Freetown offer lots of color, bargaining and relatively inexpensive tourist trinkets.
The best way to get around Freetown is by taxi. Getting from Lungi International Airport to Freetown requires a ride in a helicopter, ferry or hovercraft, an exciting way to enter a city.
Freetown Travel Resources
- Freetown guide from VisitSierraLeone.org, a locally owned and run organization promoting tourism in Sierra Leone.
- Welcome to Sierra Leone -- The official site of the Sierra Leone National Tourist Board.
- Hotels in Freetown
- Images of Freetown