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tourism > porto novo

Porto Novo - The Capital of Federal Republic of Benin.

Created in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese, City of Porto Novo inherited its name because of its resemblance to the Portuguese city Oporto.

Though the government and most of its activities were moved to Cotonou, which is 32km west of Porto Novo (which has approx. 180'000 inhabitants) - Porto Novo is still the official capital of the country.
It is essentially a beautiful city by its marked past, where many kings ruled their kingdom from.

Start your tour of the city with its monuments and museums.

Royal Palace of King Toffa
The museum that used to be the kings palace, tells you how African royalty actually lived before the colonial era and
how the kings ruled the kingdom from the palace.
The museum has a lot of scary but interesting past. In the museum is a room, where it is believed that Deities and other gods were worshipped in the past. It is therefore sacred room for any visitor, even the kings.
Till this date, it is believed that any Human being that goes into the room will Die immediately after.
History has it that when the French invaded the town, the king at the time was so annoyed and went into the room.
Interestingly, record has it that he died immediately after.
With the fear still in place, the room has till this day being locked and boarded up. No one is allowed to enter and no one knows what is inside.

Ethnographic History museum
The Ethnographic Museum of Porto Novo, traces the history of the city.
You can admire among other cultural artifacts the famous collection of Yoruba masks for example with a superb collection of Yoruba history. There are other historical artifacts to enjoy.

Adjara Market:
Located 10 km north of Porto Novo, the big bustling market of Adjara is the absolute city is the ideal place to purchase your holiday memories. You'll find excellent masks, drums hand carved, pottery and all kinds of local handicrafts. At the colourful market of Adjara, you can buy drums, cloth, baskets and pottery of the prettiest kind.
You will also find the Ethnographic Museum of Porto Novo that houses a superb collection of Yoruba history.
You can also visit the church built in the ornate style of Brazil, which also now has a modern day mosque.

Project Songhai
When you have had enough history, a visit to the Songhai centre will bring you bang up to date.
The Project Songhai is a place much visited mainly by those who are passionate about agriculture in Benin. This is a centre for sustainable agriculture and it is well worth spending at least a couple of hours here. The Songhai centre specialises in production, development, research and training in sustainable agriculture in order to help African farmers
to run viable and profitable farms.
The first one opened in 1985 and there are now 6 Songhai centres in Benin and 1 in Nigeria. Profits from the sale of goods produced here are used to train African farmers and assist them in setting up farms in areas where they are needed.
Many types of fruit and vegetables are grown here, animals are raised and there is a fish farm, water filtration plant and fruit juice production, as well as soya, cassava and palm oil.
You can see how each section creates the bio-fuels to allow the other sections to function and how everything is used with no waste.
Look out for the NERICA rice (New Rice for Africa) which grows here – a hybrid adapted to grow in harsh African conditions of sub- Saharan Africa and developed by a Beninese company. It was created from a blend of Asian and African rice and designed to give high yield, shorter growing times, higher protein content and be very hardy and
resistant to disease. It can grow in most conditions and is specifically aimed at the millions of small and subsistence farmers in Africa.
After the tour you can sample the delicious organic produce in the restaurant.
Accompanied by a guide, you will walk through the farm where you will discover all sorts of cultures. People who seek peace and tranquility will go to the garden of Palace Jean Bayol.

The Zamgbeto Temple
Zamgbeto is a deity which is being represented by the Zamgbeto masquerade. The temple is the largest and the smartest Voodoo temple in Benin, the others are in rural areas. This one is dedicated to Zangbeto, the night watchman, who is one of the most powerful and popular Voodoo gods and who has temples in many towns and villages throughout the country.
In the days before the police, the Zangbetos were responsible for keeping law and order.
The Zamgbeto temple is a tall building, built and shaped like a giant "Zamgbeto" masquerade. It is the meeting place for people who believe in Zamgbeto worship.
The temple can only be viewed and admired from outside as it is forbidden to enter the building except by selected worshipers - most of the Voodoo temples forbid entry to non-members, particularly the Zangbeto temples, which do not even allow women in.
During their yearly festivities, various type of Zamgeto's display their colours and dancing prowess. They vary in size and height, from a 1 footer to a 7 footer.

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zamgeto temple
Zamgeto temple
village people
Village people

Snake Temple
Ancient building
Cotonou SkylineCotonou Skyline
Zamgbeto festival
Petrol transport
Petrol transport
porto novo style