Capital and global cradle of Voodoo, Ouidah is unique in its history and its specificities. A short stop, we make you visit Ouidah. Follow the guide.
This "slave route" is not symbolic, it is a real trail that drove slaves to slave ships. It consisted of 5 stages: the auction place, the tree of oblivion, the Zomai box, the tree of the return and the door of no return.
On leaving Zomai, the slaves had to go around this tree three times. This ceremony meant that the breath of the slaves would return here after their death. The return in question here is not physical but mystical.
Raised along the 3 km of road that separates the place CHACHA from the coast, sculptures but also pits, rivers, fetish trees take us back step by step in the perilous journey and in the pain of the blacks. Chained to each other, they should follow rituals, to forget their origins but also for the spirits to return. Let the departed bodies prevent the hearts from returning.
The whole memory of Ouidah is unique in itself. The Gate of No Return inaugurated on the initiative of UNESCO
marks the symbol of the deportation of which the beach of Ouidah was the theater. It's just a little path that stretches
over 4km, but it was borrowed by more than 2 million men and women who, chains with feet, embarked
in the holds of ships that were to take them to the new world.
SACRED FOREST KPASSEZOUN
In the sacred forest of King Kpassé, there are representations of the '' Lègba '' (benefactor god), the '' Tchango '' (god of thunder), the '' Sakpatassi '' (adept of the god of the earth), "Dansi" (adept of the deity Dan), "Kpamègan" (General of the army of King Kpassè), "Agbadjigan" (the man with two heads and spy of King Kpassè) these gods who fix you with their stone eyes. . Under the century-old irokos, Tokoudagba recounts with the Dakpogan brothers the legend of the voodoo pantheon.
This forest is also home to hundred-year-old trees (up to 650 years old). A mysterious and extraordinary event occurred in 1988 in the forest, giving it more sacred value. The guide confesses: "On June 4, 1988, a sacred tree was felled, but forty-one (41) days later, on July 14 of the same year, the tree stood up on its own and at the same in law. This has caused amazement throughout the city and has strengthened the belief of people in this sacred forest.
TEMPLE OF PYTHONS
In 1717, following a fratricidal war between the kingdom of DANXOME and that of HOUEDA, the defeated king of Ouidah took refuge in the forest to escape the warriors who pursued him. He was protected by the pythons who attacked the mercenaries of the Danxome kingdom, and he was saved. In honor of his protectors, he erected at Ouidah three huts in the forest and a totem.
You can discover the temple, inhabited by pythons of any size, snaking freely in the alleys. The boa or the royal python are two of the most represented species and are the object of the greatest cult. Located in the heart of the city, opposite the basilica of Ouidah, the temple of pythons remains a sacred place.
The Portuguese fort São-Jão-Batista-de-Ajuda was built in 1721. It was a fortified trading post until 1816 and then became a Catholic mission until 1893. It later served as the headquarters for the representation of the Portuguese state. In 1961, to celebrate the independence of the country, the government of Dahomey annexed the Portuguese enclave. Before leaving, the occupants burn the buildings.
By decree of November 13, 1964, the fort is classified as a historical monument. It is restored with financial assistance from France and the United States. A museum is built on the history of Ouidah, and opens on September 6, 1967.
THE VILLAGE OF SALT DJEGBADJI
You will not leave Ouidah without visiting Djègbadji "the land of salt". Where women work manually and traditionally the mangrove of Ouidah and the salt lands to produce salt for households in Benin. The beauty of their gestures, their archaism and the charm of the place are a must for any visitor ...