"Capital of Benin" Porto-Novo by Ramonq

Porto-Novo Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 26 photos

Sleepy Capital

This is the traditional capital of Benin, which used to be called Dahomey, named after the fearsome tribe who once dominated this land. Porto Novo is the royal capital where the king oversaw his realm. The old royal palace which was built around the late 17th century is still there which gives you a glimpse of how African kingdoms were once ruled, before the Europeans took over the continent. The palace, which more like a cottage for the royal court is very simple; not something one would expect when the word "palace" is mentioned. The king held court on dirt land and the room where he stayed was very dark and spartan. There are altars for traditional religious rituals (voodoo) and separate courtrooms for the kings numerous wives. The history of Porto Novo is the history of Benin and this is the good place to start if you want to learn more about the many tribes who populate this region of Africa.

For culture vultures, the Ethnographic museum is where one would go to understand the traditional Beninoise lifestyle that is still practised in the remote towns and regions of Benin. Porto Novo may not have the glitz and commercialism of Cotonou, but it holds the country's most important heritage and patrimony. It is also the political centre where the National Assembly meets

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Interesting Museums
  • Cons:No nice restaurants
  • In a nutshell:Royal Beninoise City
  • Intro Updated Feb 28, 2010
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