If you have been searching for a place to go to this Christmas, then these are some historical sites you may find interesting to visit.
Nigeria, the giant of Africa is a country with a rich cultural heritage, boasting of several hundreds of languages and various historical sites and tourist attractions, including long stretches of exotic beaches, lush mountains, well-preserved traditions, culture and beautiful enchantments. These historical attractions stemmed out as a result of the country’s vast historical and cultural heritage.
Let’s examine ten historical places in Nigeria that can attract tourists, just in case you’re free and need to tour!
1. Ogbunike Caves
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Ogbunike, Anambra State. The caves have retained the same biodiversity for hundreds of years, have been in use for centuries by local people for whom it has particular spiritual significance. Visitors must remove their shoes before entering the caves, as tradition demands, and women on menstruation cannot go in.
Descending into the valley where the caves are located is a lengthy walkway made up of about 317 steps!and are like a glimpse into another world. Climb over slippery rocks into the main chamber, where you see bats nest high above the cave floor.Test the water and feel the threshold between the warm water that runs from the caves and the cold temperature of the Nkisa River in Alhambra state that flows into it.
2. Olumo Rock
This is a popular tourist attraction in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. It was used as a fortress by the Egba people in the early 19th century. Olumo rock, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nigeria, West Africa, sits in the ancient city centre of Abeokuta – a name which means “Under the rock”; it has a height of 137 metres above sea level.The rock provided sanctuary to the people as well as a vantage point to monitor the enemy’s advance leading to eventual triumph.
A trip to Olumo rock usually commences with a climb up the man-made stairs carved into the rock. The journey continues with climbs on irregularly sized rocks (or ladders which are now provided) through a narrow corridor that leads to the top of the rock there are amazing sights of carvings in the rock, cowrie-studded statues and the ancient abode of the priestesses who live in huts on the rock.
On the way back down the rock, the sight of the Ogun river running like a silver chain amidst a forest of aged red corrugated roofs bordered by thick green forests which melt into the horizon is breathtaking and will leave every tourist amazed!
3. Ancient Kano City Walls
The Ancient Kano City Walls (Hausa: Kofar Na’isa ) The wall which was built between 1095 through 1134 and completed in the middle of the 14th century, were ancient defensive walls built were built in order to provide security to the natives. In the 16th century, the walls were further extended to their present position. The gates are as old as the walls and were used to control the movement of people in and out of the city. Though, most of them are in ruins. Ancient Kano City walls and associated sites are places of spiritual, historical and cultural significance.The Ancient Kano City Walls were described as “‘the most impressive monument in West Africa”.
4.Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, Osun
This sacred forest is situated along the banks of the Oshun River, on the outskirts of the capital city of Osogbo, which is regarded as the home of the goddess of fertility – Osun.
There are shrines, art works, sculptures and sanctuaries that dot the river in honour of the goddess and other local deities.
It is considered as the last of the Yoruba’s sacred forests that are still standing. In 2005, it was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Its yearly festival brings thousands of spectators, tourists and Osun worshippers from around the world.
5. Arochukwu Long Juju Slave Route, Abia
This is the home of the shrine of Ibin Ukpabi with a domineering cult statute of Kamalu-‘The Ancient Warrior god’ still standing. It contains an altar, a water fall and there is a six-foot gully that leads people to this cave temple. There is a famous feature the Iyi-Eke which was an outlet for slaves to be transported to Calabar.There are lots of myths about this area which was listed in 2007 on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
6. Oban Hills, Cross River State
Oban Hills is a range of hills located within Cross River National Park and it shares a border with the Korup National Park in Cameroon, established in 1988 as a part of the Cross River National park and is a natural habitat for wildlife and plants of unknown species. This is one of few sites where the Xavier’s Green Bull can be found and unusual species such as the Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Bat Hawk, Crested Guinea fowl, Lyre-tailed Honey guide and it houses over 400 Chimpanzees.
7. Oke-Idanre Hill, Ondo State
Idanre Hills consists of spectacular valleys with a high plain and the valleys are interspersed with magnificent inselbergs that are about 3,000 feet above the sea level. There are attributes such as the old court, Owa’s Palace, Agbooogun foot print, shrines, burial grounds and mounds and the Omi Aopara which is the thunder water. It was listed in 2007 on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is a tourist attraction centre that brings thousands of visitors all through the year.
8. Oduduwa Grove world Temple
It is located in Ile-ife, Osun state. The site is notable for being the point where oduduwa, the legendary progenitor of the Yoruba race landed with a chain. He founded Ile-life which became his final resting place, at this location, a statute of Oduduwa with the chain and staff can be found. This place has attracted so many tourists and researchers over the years.
9. Erin-Ijesha/Olumirin Waterfall
Olumirin means “another deity”. The Olumirin waterfall located in Erin-ijesha Osun state was discovered in 1140AD by Akinla, a granddaughter of Oduduwa, when the people of Ife were migrating to Erin-ijesha town. Olumirin is one of the most visited tourist sites in Nigeria.
It attracted over 50,000 visitors in 2014, making it the most visited tourist centre that year. The natives regard the waterfall as a sacred site and as a means of purifying our souls
10 Surame Cultural Landscape, Sokoto.
Surame is an ancient city in Sokoto State, created in the 16th Century by Muhammadu Kanta Sarkin Kebbi and abandoned in the `1700. It is regarded as one of the world’s wonders of the human civilization, ingenuity and creativity.
Its wall is made of massive stones and has a Palace of the Hidi; the chief of the village. It was declared an ancient Nigeria’s National Monument in 1964 and added in the Cultural and Natural category of the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2007.
Compiled by The Nation