In the close neighborhood of busy, vivid capital city of Senegal – Dakar, lays a quiet harbor island that was a significant place in history and still has an important role to play.

The Island of Gorée was a famous slaves-trading center and the largest one on the African coast. Times of glory ended in the 19th century when slavery in the region finally came to an end. Nowadays, the island is a monument of inglorious times, serves as a reminder of human cruelty, crime, and suffering. The residents of the island live off the pain of ancestors as well as from cultivating African craft (mostly art and jewelry).

Sandpainting
Local artists use multicolored sand brought from across the country
Canvases
Colorful paintings, popular in the area, patterns are not original, but handmade, so one piece differs from another

Because of the role that this tiny island on the Atlantic Ocean plays being a symbol of the slave trade, the authorities decided to keep some buildings for educational purposes. The most popular is the House of Slaves – one of many that were built on the island in the period between the 15t and 19th century.

Originally the walls of the house of slaves, window blinds and doors weren’t paint in color
The Door of No Return
As the records say, for many enslaved people the Island of Goree was the final exit point from Africa. Any slave who passed through the Door of No Return would never return to Africa hence the name.

The island is a beautiful, touching, rich in history place to visit. It takes several minutes to get there by ferry from Port Autonome de Dakar. Round trip costs 500 CHF.

Visitors can buy a lot of souvenirs from local vendors which are beautiful however overpriced. Make sure to bargain well with the salespersons in order to get the best deal possible.

The women who sell jewelry, clothing, articles and small souvenir items like magnets and pendants get offended easily if one doesn’t buy from them. They can be – most of the time are – brazen, and can follow a potential buyer for hours. It’s important to remain assertive and vigilant as they can become aggressive.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *