At the entrance to the city of Ouidah, is the Temple of the Pythons, where these sacred animals are venerated. Bastion of the voodoo culture, Ouidah is famous for its religious traditions still alive. At the entrance of the village, you can visit the temple of the Pythons, symbol of the sacredness of the animal. In 1717, following a fratricidal war between the kingdom of DANXOME and that of HOUEDA, the defeated king of Ouidah took refuge in the forest to escape the warriors who were pursuing him. He was protected by the pythons that attacked the mercenaries of the kingdom of Danxome, and he could thus be saved. In honor of his protectors, he erected three huts in the forest and a totem pole in Ouidah.


You can discover the temple, inhabited by pythons of all sizes, snaking freely in the alleys. The boa or the royal python are two of the most represented species and are the object of the greatest cult. The death of a python is always the subject of a death ceremony. In addition, every seven years, a great festival is celebrated inside the temple, involving 41 young virgins in a great purification ceremony. The purpose is to exorcise evil spirits and bring peace and prosperity to the village. 


Originally, the temple grounds covered several acres, but the area has been severely reduced by urbanization2. The shrine is now located in the heart of the city, in the Dangbexu district, in Agoli Square, which is paved but still has a century-old baobab tree, opposite the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the city's main Catholic place of worship.


Initially reserved for the initiated, the temple has undergone over the years a partial mutation, becoming a center of cultic attraction and a high tourist place. The annual number of visitors has been estimated at 1,100, especially during the Christmas and New Year's vacations, summer vacations and vacations. Admission is now open to all, but there is a charge. A small donation allows the visitor to have a photo taken with a python around his neck.


The temple faces the Basilica of Ouidah, a symbol of religious tolerance in Benin.