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

Land of the Dogons - Mali

Map showing the location of the Cliff of Bandiagara - Land of the Dogons world heritage site in Mali

Website Category:  Earth’s Crust

Area: (not defined)

Inscribed: 1989

Criteria: (vii) aesthetic (mixed site, cultural criterion (v) traditional culture also applies) 

 

Values:The Bandiagara escarpment, Land of the Dogons, is one of the most impressive geological, archaeological and ethnological landscapes in West Africa. It is a ‘mixed' site, listed on both natural and cultural criteria. It is characterised by a 150km-long sandstone cliff, with a rocky plateau on top, and a sandy plain below. The plateau varies in height from 100 m to over 500 m and is broken by ravines, gorges and rocky passages connecting the plain with the plateau. The escarpment itself is rich in plants and vegetation types which have been destroyed by man in more accessible places. These are mostly relict humid species sheltering in the ravines in an otherwise arid Sahelian climate, including several endemic species. The area was occupied centuries ago by the Dogon people, who have retained their traditional animist beliefs, culture, and unique architecture. The cliff protects beautiful houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries and communal meeting-places which for centuries have been the heart of traditional Dogon culture.

 

Slideshow of the Land of the Dogons world heritage site.

    

Impressions (based on a visit in March 2006)This is a fascinating area of rural Mali, known widely for the unique and intriguing collections of granaries and other buildings built along the base of the cliffs. In recent years tourism has become a major factor driving change - making it easier for visitors to experience Dogon culture, but at the same time breaking down that culture. The natural environment seems to be under pressure, with desertification of the lowlands now quite advanced.

Management challenges: This is not a protected area, and does not seem to have any kind of authority overseeing its world heritage values. There is need to promote more sustainable systems of land use, and reverse the process of desertification which is underway.

 

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Links to other places in the Earth’s Crust category:  Wadi Al-Hitan  I  Mosi-oa-tunya Victoria Falls  I  Vredefort Dome  

Links:  Google Earth | UNEP-WCMC Site Description | Official UNESCO Site Details |OurPlace Photos | Birdlife IBA

 

Traditional granary buildings at the Cliff of Bandiagara - Land of the Dogons world heritage site in MaliMaking rope from Baobab bark to provide access to the cliffs at the the Cliff of Bandiagara - Land of the Dogons world heritage site in MaliTraditional granaries built under shelter at the foot of the cliffs at the Cliff of Bandiagara - Land of the Dogons world heritage site in MaliView along the sandstone escarpment showing traditional granaries built under shelter at the foot of the cliffs at the Cliff of Bandiagara - Land of the Dogons world heritage site in Mali 

 

 

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