Monrovia is the capital, chief port and largest city of Liberia. It sprawls over a narrow peninsula on the Atlantic coast at Bushrod Island and Cape Mesurado. Established by The United States of America in 1822 at the peak of antislavery, Monrovia was designed as a haven for freed slaves. The city’s original name was Christopolis, it was renamed Monrovia in 1822 after ex US President, James Monroe.
As Liberia’s political, economic and cultural headquarters, Monrovia is a beehive of activities. The city’s riches are in its harbour, its mineral resources, manufacturing firms, as well as its over one million population.
Monrovia has a tropical monsoonal climate with a dry season that lasts from December to April and a heavy monsoon the rest of year. It has an average annual temperature of 25.8 degrees Celsius.
Being a US founded territory settled with returnee slaves who live with natives, Monrovia features a blend of western and African culture. Although the official language in the city is English, Kreyol (Liberian Pidgin) is very popular, while Bassa and Kru are the core local languages.
Monrovia is a city that has been through many challenges but has come out stronger and better.
Its tourism sector, which suffered huge setback during previous turmoil, is now getting attention. The main attractions in the city include the Liberian National Museum, the Masonic Temple, the Waterside Market, and its several beaches. Christianity, Islam and followers of other faith coexists peacefully in this city.
Monrovia is a gift to the world, its rainforest; sandy beaches and an emerging surf scene are some of its main attractions.
Although it was looted during the war, the Liberian National Museum remains a notable site in Monrovia; explore it pictures and artefacts to learn about Liberia’s history, culture and people. The museum also offers insight into the wars that dots the country’s past. You will find paintings, drums and masks as well as the throne once used by William Tubman at the Masonic Temple on display at the museum. Explore the ruins of the Masonic Temple, which was once a major landmark of the city, and visit its various beaches for fun and some relaxation. Beaches to try out include Elwa beach that has pleasing, clean sand and safe swimming area, Thinkers beach that offers perfect waves for surfing and CeCe beach which has palm umbrellas and well-protected swimming area. The chaotic but colourful Waterside Market is where you can buy everything you may possibly need!
The blend of local and foreign influence, thanks to immigrants/settlers and natives, has given Monrovia dishes something that Italians will call “squisito”! The city is popular for its big, hearty stews incorporating all manner of meats, fish, chicken, pork and shellfish, served over either rice or fufu—a staple made from fermented cassava. Let the fufu dumpling drink in the flavours of the stew before chowing it down.
Vegetables are star is the city, they make the difference in each dish as cooks have perfected the act of extracting every drop of flavour from tropical greens.
Palm butter is very popular, it is made from palm nut, pound into a mash, and then cooked to extract the beautiful buttery sauce, which holds together crawfish, dried fish, chicken, beef, pig feet, even suck-suck—a snail-like creature which earned its name from the way it is eaten in that the meat is sucked out of the shell. Palava sauce, made from jute leaves with an okra-like consistency is another popular stew you should enjoy while in Monrovia. Ginger Beer and Lemon Grass Tea are notable local drinks, while wines, beer and soft drinks are regularly available in most restaurants.