Just outside of Abomey, a subterranean town of over fifty dwellings lies thirty feet beneath the ground. Known as the Agongointo-Zoungoudo Underground Town, the series of rooms and passageways was rediscovered in 1998 during a construction project in Bohicon, when an unsuspecting bulldozer toppled into one of the caverns.
The sprawling subterranean town is believed to date back to the late-16th or early-17th century during the reign of King Dakodonou, the second king of Dahomey. Agongointo-Zoungoudo consists of over 17 acres of underground homes—each segmented into living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens—likely erected to shelter warriors. Some of the underground dwellings contain multiple levels, and several appear to have been connected to a well.
The underground town was designated a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site just four months after its discovery, and Bohicon authorities quickly worked to transform the site into an archaeological park open to the public. In addition to the underground town, you can check out the site’s butterfly garden, exhibition hall, and spots of local Vodun belief, such as a baobab tree wrapped in strangler fig and Dan fetishes.
Know Before You Go
The archaeological site is open each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the entrance fee is 2,000 CFA for foreigners. Please note that wearing red is prohibited.