April 4, 2015

1511 NIGER - The Djado Plateau and its forts (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

The Djado Plateau lies in northeastern Niger, and it is known for its cave art (often of large mammals long since absent from the area), but is now largely uninhabited, with abandoned towns and forts still standing and visible. The forts are the first architectural elements made from stone and clay in this area, found also in Tichitt Walata in Mauritania, and symbolize the first civilizations organized on the period of desiccation of the Sahara. There is no certainty about who were the founders of the settlement, but at some point the Kanouri people occupied it, they being the last inhabitants of the oasis. The reasons for the abandon aren't clear; it could be frequent raids in the area or the sickly amount of mosquitoes. Today the area is dominated by the Toubou people, who take care of the palm gardens.

Djado is an abandoned oasis village which lies in the southern border of the Djado plateau. Its altitude above sea level is around 450 meters. The oasis swamp, which contains non potable water and is infested with mosquitoes, surrounds the fortified village or ksar, an intrincate maze of corridors and passages that lies in ruins. 8km to the north-north-west lies another abandoned and ruined village called Djaba. 7km to the south-south-east lies the village of Chirfa, built around a ruined colonial fort and inhabited by some hundreds of kanouri and toubou peoples. Some kilometers from Chirfa lies a military outpost and travelers are advised to report at it. Chirfa is a gateway for visiting the Djado plateau and its archaelogical sites, but it is also advised to be accompanied by a local guide when venturing in the area.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), is part of a series of birds, issued on February 1996. The second, depicting Onion: the viola of Galmi, is part of a series issued on 2011.

Djado Plateau - Wikipedia
Plateau et Fortin du Djado (fr) - UNESCO official website
Forbidden Sahara, Djado - Lipstick Salley

Sender: Holger & Baechir
Sent from Niamey (Niamey / Niger), on 07.03.2015
Photo: Maurice Ascani

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