The Royal Palaces of Abomey
The 12 palaces ( listed as UNESCO sites), spread over a 40 hectares (99 acres) area at the heart of the Abomey town in Benin, formerly the capital of the West African Kingdom of Dahomey. The Kingdom was founded in 1625 by the Fon people who developed it into a powerful military and commercial empire, which dominated trade with European slave traders on the Slave Coast until the late 19th century, to whom they sold their prisoners of war.
At its peak the palaces could accommodate up to 8000 people. The King’s palace included a two-story building known as the “cowries house” or akuehue.. Under the twelve kings who succeeded from 1625 to 1900, the kingdom established itself as one of the most powerful of the western coast of Africa.
This is a village on stilts lying in Lake Nokoué, near Cotonou. With a population of around 20,000 people, it is probably the largest lake village in Africa and is known as the Venice of Africa. The village was established in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries by the Tofinu people, established on the lake because the Dahomey’s (a slave trading tribe) religion forbade the Fon warriors from entering water, therefore the lagoon was a safe territory for other tribes.
Originally based on farming, the village’s main industries is fish farming.
Temple of Pythons
In most parts of the world snakes are feared, but in Benin they are revered. Royal pythons are worshiped in Benin, especially in Ouidah.
The Temple of Pythons in Ouidah is a small room of twelve square meters that houses 50 adult royal pythons. The good news is that royal pythons are not dangerous, but the bad news is that these sacred reptiles are welcome in Beninois households where they are fed when the doors of the temple are opened at night. There is no fear when the locals welcome these slithering pythons into their living rooms like an honored guest.