The palace’s impressive architecture within an 11-hectare park, offers an array of tropical trees and over 40 species of birds [Yanick Folly/AFP]

Togo on Friday opened a flagship art centre in the former seat of colonial power after a multi-million dollar refurbishment aimed at making it a major cultural draw in West Africa.

Built over a century ago, the Palais de Lome was home to both French and German colonial rulers until becoming the residence of the Togolese presidency – but was abandoned in the early 1990’s.

Togo’s government commissioned architects in 2014 to renovate the palace, venerated as a treasured historic monument in the tiny West African nation, which is seeking to attract visitors and boost tourism.

“For the first time in

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