When it opened its doors in the 1950’s, the Grande Hotel was billed as the “Pride of Africa”. Set in the lush Mozambican port of Beira, it was the largest, most modern hotel on the continent filled with parquet, marble, and glass, surrounded by sweeping views of the Indian ocean. But in the late 70’s, civil war broke out in Mozambique, and the hotel became a refugee camp for decade and a half. When the war ended, many people stayed on, unable to return home, and thousands of other landless, unemployed Mozambicans arrived. The Grande Hotel is now the biggest squat in the world, with about six thousand squatters living inside its crumbling walls.
(Text by Annie Murphy)