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Palace
Bas-reliefs of king Guézo's palace



Like all the palaces, the Abomey Museum is made up of buildings and courtyards which are surrounded in places by enclosures and walls of impressive height. The average thickness of the walls is about one and a half feet which ensures an agreeable temperature inside the rooms.

The architectural elements include various materials - earth for the foundations, floors and elevations; palm, bamboo and other species such as iroko and mahogany for timber-work and joinery; straw and sheet-metal for roofing.

Some buildings incorporate bas-reliefs, originally simple decorations which became a real codified means of communication at the end of the 18th century. The bas-reliefs inlaid in walls and pillars were modelled out of earth from ant-hills mixed with palm oil and dyed with vegetable and mineral pigments. They represent one of the most impressive highlights of the Museum.      

Each palace is made up of more or less similar units from the point of view of form and function.

Access to the first interior courtyard (Kpododji) of the palace is by the Honnouwa, and the second interior courtyard (Jalalahènnou) by the Logodo. The second courtyard contains the Ajalala (a superb building with a variety of openings and where the walls are decorated with evocative designs in bas-relief) and temples.

The construction of the palatial site does not however imply a simple repetition of ancient forms. It includes architectural innovations generally linked to the specific conditions of the reign of each Dada. The best preserved palaces at present are those which house the Museum, that is to say the palaces of Glèlè and Guézo.

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