Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons, Mali)
The Cliff of Bandiagara, Land of the Dogons, is a vast cultural landscape of Mali. The sandstone cliff rises about 500 meters above the lower sandy plateau to the south. It has a length of approximately 150 kilometers. The area of the escarpment is inhabited today by the Dogon people. Their beautiful architecture (houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries and Togu Na, or communal meeting-places) accent the regions exceptional geological and environmental features. It is extremely difficult to access, and the existence of a series of secret tunnels rendered it an effective means of defense for the Dogon in the face of formidable invaders. Thanks to this defensive shelter of buildings entrenched on the plateau and clinging to cliff faces, the Dogon were able to conserve their centuries-old culture and traditions. Their architecture has adapted to benefit from the physical constraints of the land and their exploitation of the all the available elements to build their villages reflect their ingenuity, making the Bandiagara dwellings one of Africa’s most impressive sites.