SOME TOURIST SITES OF BENIN
The Republic of Benin, formerly known as the Republic of Dahomey, is a multifaceted country with plenty of important tourist attractions. Benin tourist offers are very varied, with the possibility of practicing all kinds of tourism, including cultural tourism, seaside tourism, ecotourism, agrotourism, religious tourism and crafts. Here are some examples of renowned tourist attractions in Benin.
ROYAL PALACE OF ABOMEY
Historic capital of the Kingdom of Danxomè, located 135 km from Cotonou, Abomey was founded in the 16th century by King Houégbadja. From 1625 to 1900, twelve (12) Kings succeeded each other at the head of the powerful Kingdom of Danxome. The most famous of them all is the King Gbêhanzin who fought relentlessly against French penetration before going to the troops of General Alfred Amédée DODDS. He was then deported to Martinique and then to Blida in Algeria where he died on December 10, 1906.
THE ROYAL PALACE– HONME MUSEUM OF PORTO-NOVO
Porto-Novo is the capital of the Republic of Benin. The city is home to the Honmé Museum which was once the Palace of King Toffa, the first to have signed a Protectorate Treaty with the French, to protect itself from the attacks of its rival Abomey, King Behanzin. Another museum is the Alexander SENOU ADANDE Ethnographic Museum.
OUIDAH HISTORY MUSEUM
Formerly a Portuguese Fort, a transit point for African slaves, the fortress of Ouidah is today converted into a museum where the history of Dahomey, Vodoun traditions and slavery are traced. Website: http://www.museeouidah.org
ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM OF PORTO-NOVO
The Museum of Ethnography of Porto-Novo is the first museum of Benin. Created in 1966 by the former Institute of Applied Research of Dahomey (IRAD) from the collections constituted by the Regional Center of the French Institute of Black Africa (IFAN), the Museum is housed in a colonial-style building . You can see GELLEDES masks, wooden sculptures, Fâ plates, musical instruments, or white and flaming weapons.
NATIONAL PARK W– BÉNIN
Between savanna and forest, the National Park W extends over the borders of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger on more than one million hectares. It represents the region's biodiversity and offers travelers the chance to discover the varied wildlife of West Africa. Web Site: www.parc-w-benin.net
PENDJARI NATIONAL PARK
Pendjari Park is part of the largest protected reserve in West Africa, in the same geographical area as the National Park W. The Park covers 480,000 hectares. Named Biosphere Reserve since 1986, the Park is home to an extremely rich ecosystem. Web Site: www.pendjari.net
THE LACUSTER CITY OF GANVIÉ
The Ganvié Lake City is nicknamed "the Venice of Africa". A fishing village with bamboo houses, Ganvié was built inside a lagoon on Lake Nokoué. The city is home to restaurants, hotels, a floating market and many other sights.
THE SONGHAÏ CENTER
The Songhaï Regional Center was established in October 1985 in Porto-Novo by the Dominican priest, Brother Godfrey NZAMUJO, with the aim of contributing to Africa's food self-sufficiency. The principle of this Center, "Nothing is lost, everything is transformed", is actively implemented by green and sustainable cultivation and production practices. The experience is so successful that it has been replicated in other parts of Benin and Africa.Site web: www.songhai.org
THE TEMPLE OF THE PYTHONS– OUIDAH
At the entrance to the town of Ouidah, stands the Temple of the Pythons, where these sacred animals are venerated. The Temple faces the Basilica of Ouidah, symbol of the religious tolerance that prevails in Benin.
THE GUÈLÈDÈ MASKS
Gaelede masks belong to the Yoruba cultural area. In the City of Ketou, the GELLEDES is supposed to protect its adherents from sickness and death, and to assure them happiness, wealth and fecundity. Woman is at the heart of the symbolic and ritual expression of the GUÈLÈDÈ. The GUÈLÈDE is registered by the UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.
The Zangbéto or "Night Guard" is a kind of night police created by King Tê Agbanlin, Founder of the City of Porto-Novo. Apart from the usual nightly outings, Zangbéto practices dances and mystical demonstrations during cultural events. The Zangbeto is now spread throughout the southern region of Benin and also in Togo.
Benin is the cradle of Vodoun religious traditions. It is an integral part of the culture of Benin and Togo. Every 10 January of every year, Benin celebrates the endogenous religions festival, which is the object of many cultural events.
FESTIVAL OF GANI
Chaque année au mois de décembre, la ville de Nikki au Nord du Bénin vibre aux festivités de la Gani qui célèbre l’identité culturelle du peuple Baatonu. La Fête dure sept (07) jours au cours desquels le Roi Bariba de Nikki reçoit des cadeaux de tous les Chefs de son Royaume ainsi que des autres Rois Bariba de Kouandé, Kandi et Banikoara, qui viennent lui faire allégeance.
Nonvitcha is the oldest festive association in Benin. Created in 1921, it brings together every year the Xwla and Xweda peoples, who gather around various cultural and commemorative events in the City of Grand-Popo.
FESTIVAL OF THE IGNAME
Yam is an agricultural product of choice in central Benin. It is the basis of the food and has a religious value anchored in the local traditions. Every year on 15 August, the entire region, especially the town of Savalou, vibrates to the rhythm of the Yam Festival, during which many culinary, cultural and leisure activities are organized.
Please visit the following sites for more details on Benin's tourist attractions: