Territory

Wonders of Benin

Ganvié - village on stilts in Benin
Ganvié – village on stilts / Dominik Schwarz, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

The most amazing wonders 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.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 11 wonders of Benin

Geological wonders

Tanongou Falls

Atakora

Charming, some 35 m tall waterfall with a large pool below it.

Kota Falls

Atakora

Beautiful, approximately 20 m tall waterfall.

Biological wonders

Shabe Palace sacred oshe tree

Collines

In the courtyard of the 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 that are wrapped in white cloth.

Architecture and cult wonders

Ganvié

Atlantique

This unusual village was 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.

Kpasse Sacred Forest

Atlantique

One of the many sacred forests in Benin, a natural temple of the Vodoun 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.

Agongointo-Zougoundo subterranean village

Zou

Some 10 m deep system of underground passages and rooms that served as a refuge during the times of the 2nd King of Dahomey in the 16th century and were extended later.

Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace

Atlantique

Central site of West African Voodoun religion where the supreme chief of this religion presides. In the palace are numerous sacred statues.

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.

Porto-Novo Grand Mosque

Ouémé

Large, very ornate building, constructed in Neo-Baroque style at the end of the 19th century as a church, later converted to a mosque. The architecture of the building is inspired by the Catholic churches in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

Porto-Novo Grand Mosque, Benin
Porto-Novo Centre

Ouémé

The historical center of the city with numerous ornate and interesting buildings. The city was founded by local people and Portuguese traders in the 16th century.

Ouidah Fort

Atlantique

Small Portuguese built fort that was built after 1680 and rebuilt in 1721.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Benin (Cultures of the World)


Provides comprehensive information on the geography, history, governmental structure, economy, cultural diversity, peoples, religion, and culture of Benin.

Benin (Other Places Travel Guide)


Benin is a country of wonder and mystery, fitting all levels of adventure and comfort. Its unique mixture of culture, history, geography, and wildlife provides the ultimate West African experience. From thrilling zemidjan moped rides to spotting hippos from dugout canoes, traveling across Benin will surely stimulate visitors’ senses and broaden their horizons.


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