The Ivory Coast, officially called the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, is believed to be the place where tourists with different preferences in terms of travel experience can find what they are looking for. Traditionally known as the “teeth coast” country due to actively participating in the ivory trade, the Coast can boast a variety of entertainment and relaxing activities. People who want to feel the breeze of the ocean and change the busy atmosphere of an urban city to a relaxed one will find attractive the town of Grand-Bassam. Those who are looking for breathtaking views and opportunities to observe wild animals in their natural habitat should make climbing Mount Nienokoue a priority.
Soon after three attractions of the country were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Ivory Coast, that was once unpopular with tourists, became one of the top countries to visit. Unfortunately, the popularity decreased after the armed conflict that happened several years ago.
Today, we decided to gather and share with our readers a set of interesting facts that they may not know about the Ivory Coast. Here they are…
The Ivory Coast: 8 interesting facts about the “teeth coast” country
1. The Ivory Coast has two capitals
A fun fact about Ivory Coast is that it is one of the few countries that have 2 capitals. This West-African country that is a bit bigger than New Mexico, has the city Yamoussoukro serving as its political center. Abidjan, the largest city in the country, is the center of economic activity.
2. The country was founded in the middle of the 18th century
The Ivory Coast, the history of which started in the middle of the 18th century, was established by Queen Abla Pokou. She was the one who made the decision to move Bauolé people from Ghana to the new lands in search of better living. Even though the migration finished successfully, the Queen had to pay a big price to make her plans become reality. The Queen’s child drowned while the people were crossing one of the rivers on the way to their new home.
3. The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire is officially the largest exporter of cocoa
Exporting cocoa is one of the few ways by means of which the country earns money, a fun fact about Ivory Coast. It exports cocoa that is used for making chocolate all over the world. Apart from cocoa, the country is also one of the leading exporters of coffee and palm oil.
4. The natives of the country speak many languages
Even though French is the official language of the country used as the language of instructions at schools and during business negotiations, Ivorians speak several other languages fluently. The majority of natives understand and speak English, that is taught at schools, fluently. Statistical data show that there are about 60 other languages spoken in the country daily.
5. People living in the country prefer to cook meals outdoors
Traditional meals of the country are based on corn, rice, yams and cassava. The meals cooked on the basis of these ingredients are complemented by beans, peanuts, vegetables, meat or fish. If you plan a trip to the Ivory Coast, remember that local meals are very spicy and are supposed to be eaten with hands.
As a rule, women cook all meals in ceramic or metal pots put on stone hearths that are placed outdoors. Therefore, there is always a variety of smells in the air. Like with any other people with their own culture and traditions, the Ivorians have their national dish called foutou. Be sure to try this dish based on a thick paste and stew made of fish or meat.
6. The country’s traditions place importance on food
Truth be told, food is an important part of all the special occasions, including birthday ceremonies, religious events and even memorial services. One of the most important festivals among the natives is the yam festival. It is the time when people all over the country give thanks for a good harvest and show respect for those who discovered yam, a fun fact about Côte d’Ivoire. The Festival of Masks that is celebrated in February and involves great preparations in terms of meals is the festival that attracts a considerable number of tourists to the country.
7. Ivorian women have difficulty finding a job
Despite the fact that women are encouraged to earn their own money, it’s harder for a woman to find a job than for a man. The majority of employers prefer to refrain from hiring women because they are not believed to take the process of building a career seriously. In other words, having a child for a woman is believed to be more important than having a good career. Men have more opportunities to build a successful career because they have better education and connections in the world of business.
8. The natives living in the country accept the lifestyle based on polygamy
Marriage and wedding are very important to Ivorians because they signify the union between two families and the creation of a new household. Even though polygamy was officially abolished in 1964, many natives continue living in accordance with the idea of this lifestyle. While divorces are much less common than in European countries, they are acceptable in the majority of ethnic groups, an interesting fact about Ivory Coast.
The Ivorians place a high value on the bringing up and education of children because they are the future generation. Social values and other important aspects of living are explained to them with the help of folktales and stories. Due to the increasing influence of Western culture, a shift in the system of values may be seen in the nearest future. Even though primary education is compulsory, not all families encourage their children to start attending a school.
I hope that this article on Ivory Coast facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!