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 Saint-Louis - Senegal

Map showing the location of the Island of Saint-Louis UNESCO world heritage site, Senegal

Website Category: European Colonial Influences  


Inscribed: 2000

Criteria: (ii)  interchange of values (iv)  icon of an era

Location and Values:  The island of Saint-Louis is located in the mouth of the Senegal River, a little north of the continent’s westernmost point.  Approximately 2.5 km long and 300 m wide, the island was developed as a French colonial town in the 17th century, and became the capital of French West Africa from 1895 to 1902.  The outstanding features of the town include the original town plan (on a regular grid system), the quaysides and the French colonial architecture. 

Slideshow of the Island Of Saint-Louis:   The slideshow gives a ‘sense of place’ as the town was in the late 1990s – a somewhat faded façade of (often crumbling) 18th and 19th century buildings, with shuttered windows and balconies overlooking the street.  The quaysides are the most attractive elements, looking out over the water and lined with the classic multi-coloured sea-going canoes used by local fisherman.  The faded glory of the colonial era is very much in evidence, replaced by the free-spirited informality of the town’s present status, with sheep and goats roaming the streets, alongside donkey carts and street vendors.  The island was connected to the mainland in 1897 by the Pont Faidherbe, an impressive structure designed by Gustav Eiffel and originally intended for the Danube.  Some of the pictures are taken on the lively Atlantic Ocean beach which is separated from the Island by a narrow sand spit. 

Slideshow of the Island Of Saint-Louis:


Google Earth View:  To view satellite imagery of Saint Louis 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  I  Fort Jesus  I  Essaouira  I  Mazagan Mozambique  I  Goree  I  Robben Island   I  Cidade Velha I Asmara Modernist City 

Other Links:     Official UNESCO Site Details  I  World Monuments Fund

The Pont Faidherbe links the mainland with Island of Saint-Louis UNESCO world heritage site, Senegal Typical French colonial architecture along one of the quaysides on the Island of Saint-Louis UNESCO world heritage site, Senegal Bathing in the channel on the seaward side of the Island of Saint-Louis UNESCO world heritage site, Senegal Brightly coloured fishing canoes at the Island of Saint-Louis UNESCO world heritage site, Senegal



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