Cotonou as the largest city and economic capital of Benin, is the de facto capital of the country; officially, Porto-Novo is the capital. Its official population count was 761,137 inhabitants in 2006; however, some estimates indicate its population to be as high as 1.2 million; the population in 1960 was only 70,000. The urban area continues to expand, notably towards the west. The city lies in the southeast of the country, between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Nokou. In addition to being Benin's largest city, it houses many of its government and diplomatic services. The city is a major port, and is also home to an airport and a railway that links to Parakou. Other features of Cotonou include Cotonou Friendship Stadium, Cotonou Cathedral, Cotonou Central Mosque, the Ancien Pont Bridge and the 20-hectare Dantokpa Market, which has a commercial turnover of over one billion CFA Francs a day. The National University of Benin is located in Cotonou.
Contributions by Dr. Blofeld, Frietjes, and SieBot.