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Saint-Louis [Senegal]

After the capital Dakar, Saint-Louis is the second city of Senegal. However, its history places it in a leading role, because it was the first city founded by Europeans in Western Africa (in 1659) and received its name in homage to the Kings of France. For a long time it was a very important hub in the gold, ivory and slave trades. It was the capital of French-speaking Western Africa and then of Senegal and Mauritania until independence (in 1960).

It has conserved exceptional architectural heritage from this historical role, which is listed as UNESCO World Heritage.

The natural site that it occupies in North-Western Senegal is also outstanding: Saint-Louis is located at the mouth of the Senegal River estuary on the Atlantic Coast. The city, built on sand banks, is made up of three sections separated by branches of the river: the Langue de Barbarie (a thin chain of sand dunes between the river and the ocean), the Isle (the pre-colonial and colonial centre between the main and minor arms of the river) and the continental part, the district of Sor.

Its main economic activity is fishing. Tourism is also well-developed thanks to the many natural attractions of the city (the Langue de Barbarie and Djoud bird sanctuaries), its architectural heritage (Faidherbe bridge, colonial buildings) and cultural scene.

Liège and Saint-Louis

Twinned since 1980, the two cities carry out occasional cooperation initiatives. The technical support provided by the Liège architecture institute especially contributed to promoting the heritage of Saint-Louis. It also participated in the campaign to be listed by UNESCO in 2000.