The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Island of Goree - Senegal

Map showing the location of the Island of Goree UNESCO world heritage site (near Dakar, Senegal)

Website Category: European Colonial Influences  

Area: unknown 

Inscribed: 1978 

Criteria: (vi)  association with belief system

Location and Values:  The Island of Goree is located about 3 km off-shore, close to Senegal’s capital city, Dakar. It is a small island, approximately 600 m x 250 m, that was possibly Africa’s biggest slave trading centre from the 15th to 19th centuries.  .  It was first colonised by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, British and French.  Over a period of several hundred years, an estimated 500,000 Africans are thought to have been traded through the island, en route to the New World.  The island has now come to symbolise the slave trade, and has become something of a pilgrimage site for the African diaspora.

Slideshow of the Island Of Goree:   The slideshow provides an overview of the island as seen today, with its colonial-style shuttered buildings draped in bougainvillea, narrow streets, and small harbour.  The southern end of the island is a rocky plateau that has extensive fortifications dating from the Second World War.  It provides good views of the streets below, and out across the ocean to Dakar. The island’s most famous building is the Maison des Esclaves, or House of Slaves, dating from 1786, where slaves were famously dispatched from the dark enclosed dungeons through a doorway opening to the sea. 

Slideshow of the Island Of Goree:

Comments and Impressions:  Today the island is a pleasant escape from the clamour of Dakar.  There are no cars on the island, and its shaded square, narrow streets, seafront cafes and wind-blown summit fortifications make it a memorable and interesting place to visit.

Google Earth View:  To view satellite imagery of the Island of Goree on Google Earth, click here. This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing other world heritage sites around Africa.

Links to other places featuring European colonial influences:  Kunta Kinteh  I  Ghana Forts Fort Jesus  I  Essaouira  I  Mazagan  I  Mozambique  I   Saint-Louis  I  Robben IslandCidade Velha I Asmara Modernist City 

Other Links:     Official UNESCO Site Details

French colonial buildings on the Island of Goree UNESCO world heritage site (near Dakar, Senegal) The harbour and waterfront buildings on the Island of Goree UNESCO world heritage site (near Dakar, Senegal) Statue commemorating the trans-Atlantic slave trade which was centred on the Island of Goree UNESCO world heritage site (near Dakar, Senegal) The 'house of slaves' provides a poignant reminder of the horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade perpetrated on the Island of Goree (now a UNESCO world heritage site near Dakar, Senegal, West Africa)



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