Very Few Tourists Ever See The Artful Architecture In This African Village.
There's a village that lies at the bottom of a hill in Burkina Faso, West Africa called Tiébélé. This is where the Kassena people live. They are one of the oldest ethnic groups in Burkina Faso, having settled in this region in the 15th century.
It's difficult for outsiders to get inside the village because the people do their best to stay isolated from the outside world. This is most likely to keep their traditions and societal structures from being jeopardized by outsiders. Even though they prefer to be left alone, Olga Stavrakis was able to get access and photograph their homes.
She wrote about her experience there on her travel blog:
It was only through a process of year long negotiations that we were permitted to enter the royal palace the entrance of which is pictured here. They were awaiting us and the grand old men of the village, the nobility, were all seated waiting for us. Each of the villages has muslims and animists (local religions) and no one much cares who believes in what. However, we were told in advance that we must not wear anything red and we may not carry an umbrella. Only the chiefly noble family is permitted that privilege and to do so would constitute a great affront to our hosts...
They build their homes with earth, wood, and straw mixed with mud and cow dung.
There are small openings in the walls just enough to allow light in. Front doors are only about 2 feet tall.
The women make murals on the walls using colored mud and white chalk.
The walls are carefully burnished with stones so the colors don't blur together. A natural varnish made from boiled pods of the African locust bean tree is coated over the surface to protect it from the weather.
These are the royal buildings.
Like the rest of their buildings, they're made of mud bricks that are covered with clay, and then decorated with geometric shapes.
Some of the building designs are done for decoration and some hold symbolic meaning.
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