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Luanda, Angola

Luanda looks to be booming. Development and construction is fueled by extractive industries such as petroleum and diamonds. However over half the city’s residents live in poverty. It has for several years dominated the chart of the most expensive cities in the world for expatriates, outstripping such notorious places as Hong Kong and London. Like the rest of Portugal’s African colonies, Angola won its independence under force of arms in the mid-1970s. But the country immediately descended into a disastrous civil war that lasted decades, severely stunting development. Sites of interest include the 16th century Fortess of Sao Miguel, which looms over the harbor. Any visitor will assuredly be directed to the towering monument at the mausoleum of Agostinho Neto, the hero of the revolution. The National Museum of Anthropology is a good place to learn about the folkloric traditions, including a collection of exemplary masks.