A City Afloat

Photo credit: Joachim Huber

Ganvié is a city on a lake. Literally on a lake. In fact, it’s the largest collection of lake dwellings on stilts in Africa, and 20,000 people call it home. It’s been this way—in the middle of 84-miles-square Lake Nokoué in Benin, West Africa—for more than 500 years, and was originally designed as a safety measure. The people who called the lake home were shielded by law from being captured and sold into slavery. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the name Ganvié translates from the Fon language as: “We’ve survived.”

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