On 21 January 2009 the Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin) have damaged by a fire  which destroyed some buildings. In particular, the fire seems to have been caused by a brushfire. The flames have consumed the straw roof and the framework of six buildings (which enclosed two temples to Agasu, the tombs of King Agonglo, King Ghezo, and each king’s 41 wives). The fire run fastly due to the strong winds.

Even if the alarm has been raised and the arrival of help has been immediate, when the rescuers arrived the buildings were engulfed in flames.

The restoration will include drying the water damage and the installation of fire hydrants.

The Royal cCmpound in Abomey – Joachim Huber, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another devastating fire struck the Royal Palaces of Abomey, a UNESCO World Heritage property in Benin, on January 14, 2015. This time, the fire extensively damaged the Palace of King Houégbadja. Fortunately, no casualties were reported. Despite the valiant efforts of firefighters, the conflagration consumed all the thatched roofs of the palace complex. The saving grace was the fire-resistant earthen architecture of the palace walls, which remained unharmed.

As authorities grapple with the aftermath, the cause of the fire remains unknown. The national authorities promptly dispatched a mission to investigate the incident, aiming to uncover the possible cause and assess the extent of the damage.

The Royal Palaces of Abomey, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985, bear significant historical value. Between 1625 and 1900, 12 kings successively led the powerful Kingdom of Abomey. Except for King Akaba, who had his own distinct enclosure, all kings had their palaces constructed within the same cob-wall area, maintaining continuity in the use of space and materials. These royal palaces stand as a unique and poignant reminder of a bygone kingdom, preserving the cultural heritage of Abomey.

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