African village where every building is a canvas, whether it is a house, palace or tomb for their dead
- Unique Tiebele, Burkina Faso, is made up of earthen huts decorated with striking geometric patterns
- The village is home to the Kassena people, one of the oldest ethnic groups in the West African nation
In a remote corner of West Africa lies a village unlike any other.
The clay walls of the low buildings that make up Tiebele, Burkina Faso, have been decorated with elaborate frescoes and geometric patterns, turning each of the circular structures into a striking work of art.
The isolated village is home to the royal court of the Kassena people, one of the oldest ethnic groups in Burkina Faso, who first settled the region in the 15th Century.
Striking: The extraordinary village of Tiebele in Burkina Faso, Africa, is made up of intricately embellished earthen architecture
Tiebele's 'Cour Royale' is a complex of earthen huts covering roughly 1.2 hectares and lying within circular, walled confines at the base of a hill overlooking the surrounding West African savannah.
It serves as the official residence of the pe, or community leader, of the Kassena tribe.
The clay walls of the buildings are covered with patterns to differentiate them from the homes of the common people, with the chief's heavily decorated residence the Tiebele equivalent of a royal palace.
But not all of the striking structures are lived in. Some of the most elaborately patterned buildings are actually mausoleums for the dead, who are laid to rest in the same compound.
Rare glimpse: A tourist-free corner of Africa, the village keeps itself relatively isolated and closed to outsiders
Symbols: Artwork etched upon the walls of one of the low buildings
Unchanged: The traditional houses in Tiebele are painted with geometric designs, symbols and icons
Village life: Young children are seen among the traditional buildings decorated with intricate paintings
Despite its unique architecture Tiebele's Cour Royale is not among Africa's well-trodden tourist destinations, with the villagers preferring to keep it isolated to ensure the conservation and integrity of their structures.
But this looks set to change in the future, with plans afoot to develop the site as a cultural tourism destination as a means of generating cash to fund conservation.
Tiebele, which is also at risk from flooding and subsequent erosion, has been placed on a watch list by the World Monuments Fund, an organisation that works to preserve the world's most treasured places.
It works in partnership with local communities and governments to protect important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe.
Unique: Tiebele is home to the chief, the royal court and the nobility of the Kassena people, who first settled the region in the 15th Century, making them one of the oldest ethnic groups in Burkina Faso
Delicate process: There is interest in developing the site as a cultural tourism destination to generate economic resources for conservation
Safety measures: The chief's house has the smallest door as a means of protection
Remote: A young buy lying inside one of the decorated buildings in the West African village
African scenes: Dried plants hang above the entrance to one of the huts in the village
Remote: Burkina Faso, in West Africa, is not a traditional tourist destination
Residents: Villagers sit in a sun drenched courtyard in Tiebele, Burkina Faso, West Africa
Elaborate: Drawings and frescoes decorate the walls of the circular mud huts
Works of art: Some of the frescoes on the walls of the buildings would not look out of place hanging in a gallery
Historic: The Kassena people are one of the oldest ethnic groups in Burkina Faso
Daily life: Pots and other implements lie behind curved walls decorated with monochrome patterns
Culture: Tiebele lies within circular, walled confines measuring roughly 1.2 hectares in sun-baked Burkina Faso
Challenges: Tiebele faces challenges to maintain the integrity of its traditional structures, from flooding and erosion to planning for tourism management