Ile de Goree Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by brendareed
  • Things to Do
    by brendareed
  • Things to Do
    by brendareed

Most Recent Things to Do in Ile de Goree

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    Île de Gorée – Castle

    by brendareed Written Nov 2, 2014

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    As we continued towards the far end of the island (south side) away from where we left the ferry, we headed up the hill towards the ruins of the castle. Along the way we passed numerous artists selling their paintings. There is an artist’s school on the island which trains people in a specific style, obvious because most all of them sold similar paintings.

    We passed the old gate of the castle and the former walls, continuing to wind up the hill to the top. Once at the top we found the remains of some very large naval guns which had the ability to protect the island and harbor for great distances.

    While we were looking at these guns, we became intrigued by some plants nearby. A local man who lived in the area and sold his art there, came up to us and answered some of our questions. This man, who spoke pretty good English, was unlike most of the locals on the island – even though he had things to sell, he didn’t try to sell to us. Instead, he took my husband on an individualized tour of the castle area, telling stories from his memories and what he knew of the history as well as some of the geology of the island. He introduced us to a musician who lives in one of the batteries and has a sound studio in his home and introduced us to an artist who makes beautiful pictures from colored sand. After spending at least 45 minutes with us, we went back with him to his art and bought a wooden statue as a thank you. Now we have a memento from this wonderful learning experience.

    There is also a World War II memorial at the top of the castle – a tall white abstract piece situated in a large, flat open space.

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    Île de Gorée – Church of St. Charles Borromée

    by brendareed Written Nov 2, 2014

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    The oldest church in Senegal is the Church of Saint Charles Borromée on Goree Island. Located in the center of the island in the Place de l’Eglise, the provincial style church sits on one end of the square. Built in 1830, it was paid for by public contributions.

    It was free to enter the church and we wandered around the well-used and worn church. Not much stood out as unique except for the spiral staircase in the back corner and the huge shell that held the holy water near the front door. There are some statues and photos, although none were outstanding in design.

    Pope John Paul II spoke here in 1992 where he offered an apology to Africans.

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    Île de Gorée – House of Slaves

    by brendareed Written Nov 2, 2014

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    Most people come to Goree Island to see the House of Slaves, the original house where many Africans were placed on ships as slaves. There is some debate on how many actually left from Goree, with most believing that not very many left from Goree and the majority of slaves leaving from Saint Louis off the coast of northern Senegal. No matter how many, even one is too many.

    The house has been visited by numerous dignitaries, including Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

    We were too late to go into the museum having spent more time than planned at the Museum of History and the castle area. By the time we got to the House of Slaves, it had closed for the afternoon. However, we were able to walk around to the back of the house to get an idea of where the ships would have docked. While we didn’t see the infamous Door of No Return, we could envision how terrifying this must have been.

    Outside the house is a beautiful garden with a statue of a chained male slave being consoled by, what I assume, was a female family member.

    If you want to get into the House of Slaves, try to visit it in the morning as it closes for several hours in the afternoon.

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    Île de Gorée - Fort d'Estrees

    by brendareed Written Nov 2, 2014

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    The remains of Fort d’Estrees on the northern end of the island clearly visible as the ferry approaches the island houses the Museum of Senegal History, which includes thirteen different rooms arranged chronologically from prehistoric era and archeological finds to when Senegal achieved its independence in 1960. The displays are in French and, while someone put a lot of effort into creating them, the lack of archival quality materials has led to the displays looking rather shabby now with faded photos and water stained documents.

    The fort was built by the Dutch and taken over by the French Vice-Admiral Jean d’Estrees (hence the fort’s name). Prior to becoming a museum, the fort was also a prison. After touring the museum, you can climb the steps to the top of the fort for a wonderful view and access to the cannons.

    Admission was 500 CFA ($1). There is a very small bookshop and bathrooms in the museum.

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    Former slave house

    by hannette Written Mar 4, 2013

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    One of the main attractions of the island is the former Slave House. Actually not that many slaves were 'processed' from here, more from St. Louis up to the north and Gambia up to the south. But it remains a testimony of the horrors of the slave trade throughout the Atlantic world.

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    The Slavery Monument

    by MikeAtSea Written Jun 14, 2007

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    On the highest point of Goree Island one can find the Slavery Monument. The Monument was built in the shape of a ship commemorating all those who perished or were forced to leave the African continent on the voyage to the new world.

    The Slavery Monument The Slavery Monument
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    The Slave House - Exhibition

    by MikeAtSea Written Jun 14, 2007

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    The former lavish quarters of the slave house traders are in vast contrasts to the cramped cells of where the slaves were held.
    Today one can find an interesting exhibition that shows pictures, maps and other items explaining in detail what the slave trade entailed.

    The Slave House - Exhibition
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    The Slave House - Museum Curator

    by MikeAtSea Written Jun 14, 2007

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    I have attended many museum visits but none was as powerfull and to the point as the one of the curator of the Slave House.
    If you head across on the 10 am ferry he conducts a tour just after 10:30 am and will give you in few words the entire history of the slave trade.

    Me and the museum curator
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    World Heritage Site - Goree Island

    by MikeAtSea Written Jun 14, 2007

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    The former slave island of Goree is a World Heritage site, just in the bay of Dakar. Here it the grave history is preserved under the protecions of the UNESCO ensuring that for centuries to come one of the worse chapters of African history does not go by forgotten.

    Goree Island - World Heritage Site
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    The Slave House

    by MikeAtSea Written Jun 14, 2007

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    This was one of the many slave houses along the West African coast. Due to its close proximity to the New World many slaves were shipped from here. Each load accommodated 150 - 300 slaves from all over Senegal as well as other West African countries, such as The Gambia, Benin, Mali and others.

    The Slave House The Slave House
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    The Slave House - Door of no return

    by MikeAtSea Written Jun 14, 2007

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    This was the last stop all African slaves saw once they were shipped from Goree Island. Put in chains they were led over a wooden pier to the waiting sail boat. Those who jumped and swam away were either shot or eaten by sharks. For the African slaves this was the last time they saw the African continent.

    Door of no return
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    Fortress

    by africateach Written Mar 18, 2005

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    This fortress is a museum now for tourists who can get in depth information on the people that lived on and defended this island. It still has (now not opperational) the cannons used to defend this land.
    Cost is about 1 dollar USD but totally worth it! We went there last and almost missed our boat!

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    The Castle

    by SirRichard Written Sep 28, 2008

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    At the north part of the island there is a slope with an old castle, from where you can have a nice view of the island and even see Dakar on the horizon. You can go there walking.

    Dakar from Goree
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    Maison des Esclaves

    by SirRichard Written Sep 28, 2008

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    This is the house where the slaves were kept before the ships took them to America. Nowadays it¡s a museum where you can visit the cells and the gate through which they were introduced into the ship.

    Maison des Esclaves
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    Maison des Esclaves

    by africateach Written Mar 18, 2005

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    Don't pass by this historic site. These two sets of stairs lead up to a room with pictures and stories about the house.

    Stairs to historical rooms
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