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Abomey is a city in the Zou Department of Benin, formerly the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey, including the Republic of Dahomey (1960–1975) which became modern-day Benin. The kingdom was established about 1625. The commune covers an area of 142 square kilometres and as of 2002 had a population of 78,341 people.
The royal palaces of Abomey are a group of earthen structures built by the Fon people between the mid-17th and late 19th Centuries. One of the most famous and historically significant traditional sites in West Africa, the palaces form one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The town was surrounded by a mud wall with a circumference estimated at six miles (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911), pierced by six gates, and protected by a ditch five feet deep, filled with a dense growth of prickly acacia, the usual defence of West African strongholds. Within the walls were villages separated by fields, several royal palaces, a market-place and a large square containing the barracks. In November 1892, Behanzin, the last independent reigning king of Dahomey, being defeated by French colonial forces, set fire to Abomey and fled northward. The French colonial administration
Djougou is the largest city in north west Benin. It is an important market town. The commune covers an area of 3,966 square kilometres and as of 2002 had a population of 181,895 people.
The city of Djougou is the capital city of the department of the Donga, and is considered to be the commercial capital of the Atacora-Donga region, with Natitingou acting as the seat of government and the primary tourist city. Djougou has a population of over two hundred thousand. While Dendi is the primary language and ethnic group in Djougou, there are also a number of Pull, Yoruba, Bariba, as well as transplanted Fon from the South. Like most of Benin, Djougou has a young and growing population. Large families and multiple wives are common—leading to a large number of young and school-aged children and pregnant women. There are many different neighborhoods throughout the city, but they are fairly amorphous. People are quicker to identify where they live not by the name of their neighborhood, but by which main road it lies on or by a nearby landmark or mosque.
The population of Djougou is predominantly Muslim, with each neighborhood boasting at least one mosque. Muslims in Djougou range from the
Ouidah ( /ˈwiːdə/), also Whydah /ˈhwaɪdə/ or Juda, is a city on the Atlantic coast of Benin. The commune covers an area of 364 square kilometres and as of 2002 had a population of 76,555 people.
In local tradition Kpase is supposed to have founded the town. This probably happened towards the end of the sixteenth century. The town was originally known as Glēxwé, literally 'Farmhouse', and was part of the kingdom of Xwéda.
In 1727 the Kingdom of Whydah was captured by the forces of King Agaja of Dahomey.
The Portuguese, English, Dutch, and French all constructed forts in the city to protect their interests in slaving. The Portuguese reached the town they called Ajudá in 1580 and the Portuguese Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá, now housing a museum, dates from 1721 and remained with Portugal until 31 July 1961.
Other attractions in Ouidah include a restored mansion of Brazilian slavers the Maison du Brésil art gallery, a voodoo python temple, an early twentieth century basilica and the Sacred Forest of Kpasse, dotted with bronze statues.
The Route des Esclaves, by which slaves were taken to the beach, has numerous statues and monuments, including the Door of No Return, a monumental
Natitingou is a city and commune in north western Benin. It is about 50 km from Benin's Pendjari National Park, where tourists can see West African wildlife during the months of December through June. The Falls of Tanougou and great mud castles of the Betammaribe known as Tata Somba are all within an hour or two of the town by car.
The commune covers an area of 3045 square kilometres and as of 2002 had a population of 75,620 people.
The town was founded by the Waama ethnic groups but is populated with Ditammari, Dendi, Nateni, Fulani, Fon, and many other ethnic groups. The region takes its name from the word Nantibatingou, the Waama root "Nanto" refers to "crush" as the local people were renowned growers and processor of sorghum which was native to the area and later millet.
Natitingou is evenly divided between Christians and Muslims and, like the rest of Benin, is notable for its ethnic and religious tolerance.
The mountains surrounding the region to the east and west sides are important in local animist beliefs and believed to be inhabited by spirits. Certain people subscribe to the idea that during the evening these spirits, emit sounds similar to those produced by stones which
Parakou is the largest city in eastern Benin, with an estimated population of around 188,853 people, and capital of the Borgou Department. The mayor as of 2008 was Samou Seidou Adambi and administratively the commune of Parakou makes up one of Benin's 77 communes.
Parakou lies on the main north-south highway RNIE 2 and at the end of a railway to Cotonou. This has made it an important market town, with major industries in cotton and textiles, peanut oil manufacture and brewing. The town grew initially from revenue generated from passing merchants that took goods from the region across the Sahara and the Mediterranean to Europe. It also served as an important stop over in the distribution of goods around Africa. As a result Parakou became well known in the slave trade. Later traders concentrated on cotton and Parakou remains the hub of the Beninese cotton trade to this day, with considerable interest from Europe.
There are several markets trading, notably the largest, "Grand Marché Azeke" which one of the largest in Benin, an international market spanning over a block. The Grand Marché Azeke has a large covered hall overlapping onto the streets with stalls, with 500 and 1000 vendors.
Cotonou (kɔtɔˈnu), as the largest city and economic capital of Benin, is the de facto capital of the country; officially, Porto-Novo is the capital.
Its official population count was 761,137 inhabitants in 2006; however, some estimates indicate its population to be as high as 1.2 million; the population in 1960 was only 70,000. The urban area continues to expand, notably towards the west. The city lies in the southeast of the country, between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Nokoué.
In addition to being Benin's largest city, it houses many of its government and diplomatic services. The city is a major port, and is also home to an airport and a railway that links to Parakou. Other features of Cotonou include Cotonou Friendship Stadium, Cotonou Cathedral, Cotonou Central Mosque, the Ancien Pont Bridge and the 20-hectare Dantokpa Market, which has a commercial turnover of over one billion CFA Francs a day. The National University of Benin is located in Cotonou. Another familiar feature of the city is the motorcycle-taxis known as Zémidjans.
The name "Cotonou" means "mouth of the river of death" in the Fon language. At the beginning of the 19th century, Cotonou (then spelled "Kotonou") was
Bohicon is a city in Benin, and a conurbation of Abomey lying 9 kilometres east of the city on the railway line from Cotonou to Parakou and on Benin's main highway RNIE 2 which joins the RNIE 4. The commune covers an area of 139 square kilometres and as of 2002 had a population of 113,091 people.
Bohicon is the crossroads of international trade at the center of Benin. Bohicon is an important in communications in Benin and branches to the various departments of the country, including to the north of Benin and on to Niger or Burkina Faso and even Togo or Nigeria. Bohicon is a relatively new city compared to Abomey and Allada and was founded in the 20th century with the installation of the railway station on the Cotonou–Parakou railway and the central market.
The city has a mosque and the Jehovah's Witnesses also have a church in Bohicon. Bohicon Railway Station is located in the city centre and the main hotel worth mentioning is the Jardin de l'Hotel de Ville De Bohicon which is set in a garden park with a restaurant.
Given the excellent road and rail networks that connect to Bohicon, Bohicon is an important trade centre that is the third largest in the country after Cotonou and
Kandi is a town, arrondissement and commune in the Alibori Department of eastern Benin. Originally a market town, Kandi is now primarily a farming centre. It lies on the nation's main north-south highway, 650 km from Cotonou and 325 miles (523 km) north of Porto-Novo. The town is the capital of the department of Alibori. The commune covers an area of 3421 square kilometres and as of 2002 had a population of 95,206 people. The town itself had a population of 27,227 in 2002.
Kandi was founded by the Dendi Kingdom, an offshoot of the Songhai Empire. The surrounded villages are Mokole Yoruba, who fled the wars of the foundation of the Oyo Kingdom. The surrounding countryside is Bariba.
The commune of Kandi is located 650 kilometres from Cotonou. Communally it is bounded to the north by Malanville, south by Gogounou, west by Banikoara and to the east with Ségbana.
Kandi is subdivided into 10 arrondissements; Kandi I, Kandi II, Kandi III, Angaradébou, Bensékou, Donwari, Kassakou, Saah, Sam and Sonsoro. They contain 39 villages and 9 urban districts.
Most of the population are engaged in agricultural activities followed by trade, transportation and handicrafts. The main crops grown are