Guinea has a rich history, which is well-represented by the historic sites located in various parts of the country. Visitors of these sites get an opportunity to learn about the French-speaking West African country, which is home to 24 ethnic groups.
The country’s mineral wealth makes it potentially one of Africa’s richest countries, but its people are among the poorest in West Africa. Despite the income inequality, Guinea has abundant natural resources, including 25 percent or more of the world’s known bauxite reserves in addition to diamonds, gold, and other precious metals.
Here are the top 7 historic sites to visit in Guinea.
The National Museum of Guinea
Located in the Sandervalia quarter of Guinea’s capital, Conakry, the National Museum of Guinea is one of the most visited historic sites in the country. It features a variety of collections that represent the ethnography and prehistory of Guinea. At the museum, you will find the country’s largest collection of art, which includes items such as masks, statues, and traditional musical instruments. Although it is not big in size, the museum includes items that will help you appreciate the country’s cultural journey up to today.
The Cultural Center
The Cultural Center is located in Conakry and is the main venue for various cultural exhibitions held by local artists. It is the perfect place to learn about the different cultural traditions observed by the various ethnic communities found in Guinea. The center includes various sections including, a theater, boutique, and exhibition gallery. You can buy a few souvenirs from the local artists who display their pieces at the center. It is also the best place to enjoy some traditional tunes and dances from local artists.
The Lady of Mali
The Lady of Mali is undoubtedly one of the most popular historic sites in Guinea. It is a giant statue of a beautiful woman’s figure carved on a huge granite rock north of Conakry, near the country’s border with Mali. The entire sculpture is about 150 meters high, with its head measuring about 25 meters long. A lot of theories have been developed in an attempt to explain how the statue came to be. Some scholars argue that the effigy was carved into the rock by wind erosion thousands of years ago, while others say it was carved by man close to 35,000 years ago.
The Grand Mosque of Conakry
The Grand Mosque of Conakry is located east of the Conakry Botanical Garden and next to Donka Hospital. It was built in 1982 with funding from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. It is the largest mosque in sub-Saharan Africa and the fourth largest in Africa. The gardens surrounding this mosque contain the tombs of national heroes, including Samori Ture, Sekou Toure, and Alfa Yaya.
Statue of Samori Toure
Located by a small roundabout near downtown Conakry, the statue of Samori Toure is an important historic site as it reminds Guineans of the struggles their ancestors went through to gain independence from French colonialists. Toure is remembered as a national hero who resisted French colonialism in Guinea for more than 16 years. He was a Muslim cleric and the founder and ruler of the Wassoulou Empire. He was the great-grandfather of Guinea’s first President Sekou Toure.
Palais du Peuple
Also known as the “Palace of the People,” Palais du Peuple is located in the middle of Conakry and is the venue used for important public events, such as the commemoration of Guinea’s Independence Day. In 2008, the building underwent major renovations ahead of Guinea’s 50th anniversary of independence. Until 2008, the building housed the unicameral parliament.
Iles de Los (Island of the Idols)
Iles de Los is a group of islands located about 2 kilometers off the cliff on the southern side of Sangareya Bay. The name was derived from the Portuguese term, “Ilhas dos Idolos,” which means “Island of the Idols.” The islands are best known for their beaches and forested interiors. Every year, thousands of tourists visit these islands to enjoy their amazing scenery and serene atmosphere. The islands also played a significant role in the slave trade.