Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Abidjan is the largest city and former capital of Côte d'Ivoire. Major industries include food processing, lumber, automobile manufacturing, and the manufacture of textiles, chemicals, and soap. There is also a large oil refinery.
A 1995 estimate placed Abidjan's population at around 2,793,000. Estimates for the population of the Abidjan metropolitan area in 2005 vary between 4 and 5 million inhabitants. As Abidjan is inhabited by people from a wide array of different ethnicities, the French language is used as the language of communication in the metropolitan area, which is the second-largest French speaking metropolitan area in the world after Paris. A specific colloquial Abidjan French has even appeared, with a pronunciation and some colloquial words distinct from standard French. The area of Abidjan is recognized as the only area in Africa where French (colloquial Abidjan French) is truly a native tongue.
The city grew after the construction of a new wharf in 1931 and its designation as the capital of the then French colony in 1933. The completion of the Vridi Canal in 1951 enabled it to become an important sea port. In 1983, Yamoussoukro was designated as the nation's capital, but most government offices and foreign embassies are still in Abidjan. The University of Abidjan , several technical colleges, and the national library and museum are in the city.
Abidjan lies on the Ébrié Lagoon. The business district Le Plateau is the centre of the city. It lies with Cocody , Deux Plateau and the slum area of Adjamé on the north shore of the lagoon, while Treichville and Marcory (also poor areas) lie to the south, Abobo-Doume and Yapougon to the west and Boulay Island in the middle of the lagoon. Further south lies Port Bouët , home to the airport and main seaport.
Sights in Abidjan include St Paul's Cathedral , designed by Aldo Spiritom , the Cocody Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art and the Parc du Banco rainforest reserve. Le Plateau is known for its skyscrapers, unusual in West Africa.
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