Guinea Bissau

Saudade Bissau

A timeless world where colonialism’s ruins blend in with ancestral rituals

When during Fifteenth century the Portuguese fleet begun to sail the Atlantic ocean, Guinea coasts were among the first territories to be explored, and in 1446 Portugal declared them as its own possession. The real colonisation started a lot later, and it was the result of endless conflicts – mostly with other European nations. Guinea’s indipendence came quite late too, in 1974, after a long war of liberation and the fall of authoritarian Salazar’s regime in Portugal. As often happens, the hopes of the young nation wrecked into a long line of military coups and in-fightings, with the country becoming one of the most important hubs of international drug trafficking. All of this concerned just the political-military elite, anyway, while the rest of the people kept on living their life in misery and apathy to political events.

Visiting Guinea Bissau today means to enter a timeless world. A place where colonialism’s ruins and great proclaims of equality blend in with ancestral rituals, loosing themselves in a complex country eternally balanced between sea and land. A place where tides rhythm drive inhabitants’ sweet melancholic mood, a kind of ‘saudade’ hitting even the most superficial, disenchanted traveler.