Porto Novo



Once the capital of the Fon Kingdom, Porto-Novo can be seen on a short day trip from Cotonou. Benin's official capital has a fascinating old quarter, a couple of excellent museums and a strong vodou culture. Those interested in West African culture will find the Ethnographic Museum of Porto-Novo very worthwhile (excellent masks, carved drums, costumes, tools and so on). The other museum, the Royal Palace (also known as the Palais Royal and the Musee Honme), is the old Fon kings' palace.

Try to plan your trip so it coincides with market day in nearby Adjarra (every fourth day): Its market has vodou objects, musical instruments (particularly many types of drums), tie-dyed cloth, pottery and other local handicrafts. One block north of the market area is a 19th-century church that has been converted into a colorful mosque. Plan two hours to see Adjarra's sights, unless it's market day, then allow two more. Also nearby is Aguegue, another water village similar to (though smaller than) Ganvie. Porto-Novo is 20 mi/30 km east of Cotonou.

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