Grand-Bassam

Ivory Coast

Info Grand-Bassam


introduction

Grand-Bassam is a town in south-eastern Ivory Coast, lying east of Abidjan. It was the French colonial capital city from 1893 to 1896, when the administration was transferred to Bingerville after a bout of yellow fever.The town remained a key seaport until the growth of Abidjan from the 1930s.

Grand-Bassam is a sub-prefecture of and the seat of Grand-Bassam Department; it is also a commune. The town has the aura of a ghost town, since large sections have been abandoned for decades.

The town is divided by the Ébrié Lagoon into two halves: Ancien Bassam is the former French settlement, facing the Gulf of Guinea. It is home to the grander colonial buildings, some of which have been restored. The district is also home to a cathedral and the Ivory Coast National Museum of Costume. Nouveau Bassam, linked to Ancien Bassam by a bridge, lies on the inland, northern side of the lagoon. It grew from the African servants' quarter and is now the main commercial centre of the town.

The town is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand-Bassam. The diocese's cathedral is the Cathédrale Sacré Cœur in Grand-Bassam.

In 2012, it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In March 2016, the town was targeted in a terrorist attack which killed at least 16 people.


Tourism

Filled to the brim with French colonial charm, Grand-Bassam is a town within the Lagunes region of Côte d'Ivoire. It was the capital city of the French colonies in the region from 1893 until 1896, until the administration was transferred to Bingerville after a severe bout of yellow fever. The city's inhabitants recovered, and it remained a key seaport until the growth of Abidjan from the 1930s, which crushed its golden era. By independence in 1960, Grand-Bassam was little more than a ghost town, until a surge of tourism in the 1970s led to its resettlement. Today, a modest 5,000 people call the town their home, although some areas still remain largely abandoned.


History

In 1896, the French capital was moved to Bingerville, and commercial shipping gradually declined until it virtually ceased in the 1930s. In 1960, with independence, all remaining administrative offices were transferred to Abidjan, and for many years Grand-Bassam was inhabited only by squatters. Beginning in the late 1970s, the town began to revive as a tourist destination and craft centre.


Subdivisions

The town is divided by the Ébrié Lagoon into two halves: Ancien Bassam is the former French settlement, facing the Gulf of Guinea. It is home to the grander colonial buildings, some of which have been restored. The district is also home to a cathedral and the Ivory Coast National Museum of Costume. Nouveau Bassam, linked to Ancien Bassam by a bridge, lies on the inland, northern side of the lagoon. It grew from the African servants' quarter and is now the main commercial centre of the town.


Internet, Communication

There is a  Cyber Cafe on the eastern side of the Place de Paix roundabout. Many of the larger hotels have free Wi-Fi.

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