The fairly modern city of Apia is still a mix of old world and new world. It was little more than a fishing village before the Europeans first arrived in 1722 AD, and thus has a long history but only really grew in size after the island of Upolu became part of German Samoa after 1900. During the short German rule the city began to modernize, but it was following World War I that Apia really took off.


There is mix of old colonial houses along with modern Western-style houses, many which were built after the nation was granted its independence in 1962. These are intermixed with the traditional “Fale” Samoan style houses. This makes for an interesting contrast of the old and new.


The old capital city of Mulinu’u is in the city’s western end and this includes the Parliament House (Fale Fono), which is in the Western style of architecture. Nearby is the Apia Samoa Temple, which makes for an impressive sight. This was build by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1983.


Writer Robert Louis Stevenson called Apia his home in his final years of life, and his plantation style house of Vailima is now a museum.


The area around the harbor features several colonial buildings built in the neo-classical style that was popular in the late 19 th century. Coupled with the traditional fale homes the city of Apia makes for some interesting contrasts.

In 2007, many parts of Apia underwent renovation in preparation for the South Pacific Games, which were hosted during the month of September.