Fadiouth Shell Island – Mbour, Senegal - Atlas Obscura

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Fadiouth Shell Island

Mbour, Senegal

An island made out of shells, including a cemetery. 


Each step you take in Fadiouth is accompanied by a muted crunching of hundreds of clam shells. Streets are covered in layer after layer, and the entire island is built on millions of shells that have accumulated over generations.

Shells are a part of everything in the town and are incorporated seamlessly into the architecture as well. While the streets paved in bivalves draw quite a crowd, the second shell island, connected to Fadiouth via stilted wooden bridge, is the true gem of the area.

Known only for its cemetery, the second island is also completely made out of shells. Although its simple and barren landscape could easily be ignored, the island is in fact very special. 90% of people in Senegal adhere to Islam, yet this entire island attached to Fadiouth is dedicated to a cemetery of simple graves, marked by white Christian crosses. Also buried in shells, the cemetery is a strange monument to the minority religion of the nation, and has adapted to the island’s shell landscape to form a beautiful graveyard.

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November 8, 2011

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