Apr
03
2009

What is Port Moresby city profile?

Aerial view of Port Moresby - courtesy kramnostam - CC-BY

Aerial view of Port Moresby - courtesy kramnostam - CC-BY

Port Moresby is the capital of Papua New Guinea and the country’s largest city.

Port Moresby was claimed for Britian in 1873. The inner bay was called “Fairfax Harbour” and the land around it, “Port Moresby.” European settlement of the site did not begin until a decade later. In 1975, Port Moresby became capital city of the new State of Papua New Guinea. New government buildings were constructed to house government offices, with a spectacular National Parliament Building, which opened in 1984 and blends traditional design with modern technology. The PNG National Museum and National Library are among those in the area. Several of these government buildings have now been abandoned because of long-term neglect. These abandoned buildings include the Central Government Offices. Nearby buildings are also showing advancing signs of decay, including crumbling fire stairs, dirty restrooms and elevators that never work.

In 2004, Port Moresby was ranked the worst capital city in the world to live in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of 130 of the world’s capital cities. Crime is rampant from bank robberies with M-16 machine guns, to car holdups by mobs armed with machetes. Visitors to Port Moresby are advised not to go out after sunset, and to not walk the streets in most areas even during the day. The murder rate there is 23 times that of London and the rates for robberies and rapes are just as high.

If you must go, these warnings from the Australian Government may be of use.

There are some good restaurants at the more expensive hotels and it is just too dangerous to do much shopping. But, a craft market is held once per month. This market brings together local artifacts from all over Papua New Guinea. An easy way to get some beautiful carvings, or any of a number of other things to take home as souvenirs.

Port Moresby has a hot climate all year round. Temperatures range from a high of 37 C (98 F) to a low of 18 C (64 F). The rain shadow created by the Owen Stanley Range means that the city receives less than 50 inches of rain per year, far less than the average rainfall on New Guinea Island.

Port Moresby is served by Jacksons International Airport.  Public transportation is by taxi or bus, but they are not safe for visitors. If your host, or hotel, can arrange your transportation, much the better.

Port Moresby population is 254,158 (2000).

+675 is the international calling code for Papua New Guinea, all points.

For more information about Port Moresby

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4 Comments

  • eiffel says:

    The security situation in Port Moresby is dire. Every house of any value has a five-metre-high barbed-wire fence around it. Many other cities and towns such as Mt Hagen and Tari have similar problems with lawlessness, but the remote villages are delightful places with friendly people eager to meet the rare traveller who can manage to get to them.

  • James DeVere says:

    Hello,

    I grew up in Port Moresby. Your article is full of missinformation. Have you visited Port Moresby?

    IT’S FINE.

    It has a beautiful environment for travellers and locals and people are really making an effort to impove things. Stop spreading heresy.

    Cheers . j

  • eiffel says:

    James: what an interesting comment! I wonder how long since you left Port Moresby? I’ve been there four times, and I know the author of the article has also been there.
    I love Port Moresby and the PNG highlands, and can converse in Tok Pisin. I really wish I could post that PM is a safe place to visit, but it’s an easily-verifiable fact crimes of violence are very high.
    But I’ve seen the other side too. I’ve stayed with local people and seen their warmth, and the pride in PNG that emerged after independence.
    I know that people are making an effort to improve things, and I’ve also seen mob justice at the markets when hundreds of people pursured a “rascal”. I think the term “heresy” is too strong for what is described in this article.
    Here’s a current insight into lawlessness in Port Moresby. It does give at least some mention to both sides of the case:
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25270884-16953,00.html

  • digs says:

    Hi James

    I have been to and through Port Moresby. I used to be an importer of Oceanic art (US) and have visited not only that city but the Sepik regions and the Blackwater River area, among others.

    Port Moresby has a great potential but it has a long way to go to be a truly safe city for visitors.

    Digs

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