Maputo, Mozambique

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Mozambique's capital and largest city, Maputo, has finally recovered from a 15-year civil war that ended in 1992, and is now bounding toward prosperity, thanks to one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. For curious travelers, there's much to discover here: You'll find a fascinating swirl of cultures—including Portuguese, Bantu, Arab, Chinese and Indian—and be energized by the lively atmosphere of a young, vibrant Africa on the move.   Recent investments in Maputo’s parks and museums as well as in the historic Baixa quarter have put a new shine on much of the city. A good place to start your exploration of the two main neighborhoods, uptown and Baixa, is Independence Square, the gateway to both areas. Here, architectural styles mix to surprising effect. Next, head to the central market in Baixa, the historic heart of town, for a glimpse of residents' daily life and to visit some of the cultural highlights such as the National Money Museum, housed in one of Maputo's oldest buildings. Don’t miss the beautiful gardens at the Natural History Museum, the elegant old train station and the underappreciated modernist architecture dating from when Mozambique was ruled by Portugal. Maputo consistently delivers surprises like these—and more.