Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
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Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1989
Size of heritage: 327,390 ha

Longitude: -2,583°
Latitude: 14,333°


The Bandiagara site is an outstanding landscape of cliffs and sandy plateaux with some beautiful architecture (houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries and Togu Na, or communal meeting-places). Several age-old social traditions live on in the region (masks, feasts, rituals, and ceremonies involving ancestor worship). The geological, archaeological and ethnological interest, together with the landscape, make the Bandiagara plateau one of West Africa's most impressive sites.

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Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons) - A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mali

The Cliff of Bandiagara, also known as the Land of the Dogons, is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Bandiagara Circle of the Mopti Region in Mali. This unique site is renowned for its exceptional cultural landscape, rich history, and the traditional way of life of the Dogon people.


The history of the Cliff of Bandiagara dates back over 2,000 years when the Dogon people migrated to the area from the plains of Burkina Faso. The Dogons settled on the cliffs to protect themselves from external threats, such as slave traders and other hostile groups. The cliffs provided a natural fortress, allowing the Dogons to preserve their culture and traditions.

The Dogon people have a complex cosmogony and a deep spiritual connection to the land. They believe that the cliffs were created by their ancestors and are considered sacred. The Dogons have managed to maintain their traditional way of life, including their unique architecture, agricultural practices, and social organization, for centuries.

Current State

The Cliff of Bandiagara is an outstanding example of a cultural landscape that has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries. The site covers an area of approximately 400,000 hectares and includes numerous villages, granaries, and sacred sites. The landscape is characterized by the impressive Bandiagara Escarpment, which stretches for about 150 kilometers.

The Dogon people continue to live in the villages scattered along the cliff, practicing their traditional agricultural techniques and maintaining their cultural heritage. The villages are built in a unique architectural style, with houses made of mud bricks and thatched roofs. The layout of the villages reflects the social structure of the Dogon society, with each village organized into different quarters for different castes.

The Dogon culture is deeply rooted in their spiritual beliefs, and the Cliff of Bandiagara is home to numerous sacred sites. These sites include natural caves, rock shelters, and ritual places where ceremonies and sacrifices are performed. The Dogons believe that these sites are inhabited by ancestral spirits and are essential for maintaining the balance between the physical and spiritual worlds.

However, the Cliff of Bandiagara faces several challenges that threaten its preservation. The increasing population and changing socio-economic conditions have put pressure on the traditional way of life of the Dogon people. Modernization and the influence of external cultures have also led to the erosion of some traditional practices.

Efforts are being made to safeguard the Cliff of Bandiagara and its cultural heritage. The Malian government, in collaboration with UNESCO and other organizations, has implemented conservation and management plans to protect the site. These initiatives aim to balance the preservation of the cultural landscape with the needs of the local communities and promote sustainable development in the region.

The Cliff of Bandiagara, with its remarkable cultural significance and breathtaking landscape, continues to be a source of pride for the Dogon people and a testament to their resilience and rich cultural heritage.