Gorée Island is a memorial site that symbolizes one of the darkest chapters in the history of African peoples: the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Commemorating over four centuries of oppression, this island was not only among the first 12 sites inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list in 1978 but also one of the first three African sites.
Gorée is quite unique as it stands as a symbol for both slavery and reconciliation. It calls on humanity to adopt a spirit of mutual respect and coexistence, to work towards a lasting peace so that history does not repeat itself. It has become a sort of mecca for the entire African diaspora.
The island does not only bear the mark of its brutal history. Located 3.5 km from Dakar and covering an area of 28 hectares, Gorée is also full of life and a symbol of the future. It is distinguished by its colorful architecture and is home to a population of 1200 for whom tourism and its gains are the main sources of income.
Old buildings entrenched in historical significance overlook the island such as the Fort d’Estrées museum, the French colonial governor’s residence, the House of Slaves and more. However, this heritage is threatened by the effects of erosion and various socio-demographic factors.
With time, more are becoming conscious of the responsibilities and challenges that come with the conservation of these historic homes and buildings, ensuring that this site is well preserved in its integrity so its cultural and economic value can be passed onto future generations.
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