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The Ruins of Loropéni
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 14th century
Date of Inscription: 2009
Location: Africa, Burkina Faso, Lobi Area
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Description: The first UNESCO inscription in the country was the best preserved of ten fortresses in the Lobi area, the 11,130m2 property with its imposing stone walls is part of a larger group of 100 stone enclosures that played a role in the trans-Saharan gold trade. The ruins, found by the borders of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, have only just proven to be about 1,000 years old. The Lohron or Koulango peoples, who occupied the settlement, were in charge of extracting and transforming the region’s gold; it reached its apogee between 14th-17th centuries. Abandoned during some of the periods during its long history, the settlement was fully deserted in the early 19th century; through more exploration the mysterious and largely unexcavated site will yield even more information. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Loropéni is a market town in southern Burkina Faso, lying west of Gaoua. Local features include pre-European stone ruins, about which little is known. One theory is that they were once a slave-palace for a Lobi king from antiquity. The Loropéni ruins were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009. The ruins are the country's first World Heritage inscription. Surrounded by mytery the 11,130m2 property is made up of an array of stone walls. Loropéni is the best preserved example of a type of fortified settlements in a wide part of West Africa, linked to the tradition of gold mining, which seems to have persisted through at least seven centuries. Loropéni, given its size and scope reflects a type of structure quite different from the Walled towns of what is now Nigeria, or the cities of the upper reaches of the river Niger Which flourished as part of the Empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai. It thus can be seen as an exceptional testimony to the settlement response generated by the gold trade. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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