Monuments des Martyrs, located in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, is most certainly one of the country’s most unique structures. Also known as the Monument to National Heroes, it was one of the grand projects of the President of Burkina Faso in 1987 but ground was not broken until 2002.
Planned to serve as the centerpiece of a quarter called Ouaga 2000 where government buildings are built, Monuments des Martyrs is supposed represent the people who lost their lives in the revolution as well as the modern expansion of the city. Sometimes compared to the Eiffel Tower (which it does not resemble at all), the monument stands more like a 1960’s spacecraft ready to take off from the Arizona desert.
While there is still work to be done in the region and at the monument itself, the outside is eye-catching and actually quite beautiful considering the stark surroundings. The nearly empty museum at the site, and the elevators that often don’t work do little to detract from what is there and complete. The grounds are still in progress and the stairwells are hot and twisting, but the view from the monument make the few dollars it takes to visit well worth the trip if you’re in the neighborhood.