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Benin

Main attractions

Kpasse Sacred Forest, Benin
Entrance into the most sacred part of Kpasse Sacred Forest / Erik Kristensen, , CC BY 2.0

The most interesting landmarks of Benin are related to the rich cultural heritage of this country. Some of the most interesting ones are related to Voodoun religion. If elsewhere in the world the Voodoo cult is legendary and mysterious, in Benin it is official religion with central shrines located in Ouidah.

Natural landmarks

  • Kota Falls - Atakora. Beautiful, approximately 20 m tall waterfall.
  • Shabe Palace sacred oshe tree - Collines, near Savé. In the courtyard of palace is giant baobab (Adansonia digitata) with a trunk diameter exceeding 12 m in circumference. This sacred tree is wrapped with a white cloth and offerings are made to it on a regular basis. Palace was built around the tree in 1933. In this area are known other sacred trees which are wrapped in a white cloth.
  • Tanongou Falls - Atakora. Charming, some 35 m tall waterfall with large pool below it.

Man made landmarks

Ganvié village, Benin
Ganvié - village on stilts / Dominik Schwarz, , CC BY-SA 3.0

Historical towns and villages

  • Abomey Palaces - Zou. Group of 10 royal palaces, built in the time period between 1625 and 1900 for the kings of Abomey (Dahomey). Palaces are built from earth and complex is surrounded by some 9.7 km long wall and ditch.
  • Agongointo-Zougoundo subterranean village - Zou. Some 10 m deep system of underground passages and rooms, which served as a refuge during the times of the 2nd King of Dahomey in the 16th century and were extended later.
  • Ganvié - Atlantique. Unusual village, which is built in the lake on stilts in the 16th - 17th century. One of largest lake villages, with some 20,000 inhabitants. There are several other similar settlements at this lake, including some districts of Cotonou.
  • Porto-Novo Centre - Ouémé. Historical centre of the city with numerous ornate and interesting buildings. City was founded by local people and Portuguese traders in the 16th century.

Voodoun sites

  • Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace - Atlantique, Ouidah. Central site of West African Voodoun religion, where the supreme chief of this religion presides. In the palace are numerous sacred statues.
  • Kpasse Sacred Forest - Atlantique. One of the many sacred forests in Benin, a natural temple of Voodoun religion. Some trees in this forest have special importance, especially one enormous cola nut tree (Cola sp.) - Iroko tree, an impersonation of King Kpasse. In the forest are located numerous Voodoun statues.
Porto-Novo Grand Mosque, Benin
Porto-Novo Grand Mosque / diasUndKompott, , CC BY-SA 2.0

Other man made landmarks

  • Ouidah Fort - Atlantique. Small Portuguese built fort, built after 1680 and rebuilt in 1721.
  • Porto-Novo Grand Mosque - Ouémé. Large, very ornate building, built in Neo-Baroque style at the end of the 19th century as a church, later converted to mosque. The architecture of the building is inspired by the Catholic churches in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

List of described attractions by departments

Benin is divided into 12 departments.

Alibori
Atakora
Atlantique
Borgou
Collines
Donga
Kouffo
Littoral
Mono
Ouémé
Plateau
Zou

Map of Benin

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