Travel Guide to Cultural Heritage Sites in Nigeria
If you’re a travel junkie, and also love interesting history about Africa’s early civilization and top ancient sites, you definitely would want to ass these UNESCO World Heritage sites from Nigeria to your bucket list. These cultural sites have an amazing back story of the ancient Nigeria lives, ancient architecture and monuments well preserved through the years.
- The Sukur Cultural Landscape, Adamawa State
Sukur Cultural Landscape © Ishanlosen Odiaua
This is Nigeria’s first UNESCO heritage site, listed in 1999. It is a hilltop settlement located on top of the highest plains on the Mandara Mountains, and in the 16th century, this city was renowned for iron smelting technology, a flourishing trade, and strong political institution. Today, some of the interesting features you’ll see at this heritage site includes the remains of a former iron industry and the Iron Age era, including iron-smelting furnaces, ore, and grindstones. You’ll also see terraced farmlands, stone paved walkways and dry stone structures, their King’s Palace and evidences of farming. For more on the Sukur settlement and how it went from a flourishing commercial city to a a deserted town, go here
- Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, in Osogbo, Osun State
Image source: TravelFix.com
This site is referred as one of the popular sacred forests of the world, the largest sacred groves to have survived and that is still honored. Osun Osogbo sacred grove is regarded as a holy place and a place of spiritual pilgrimage by majority of worshippers of the Yoruba ancient religion Worldwide, who believe this place is the home of the goddess of fertility, Osun. The landscape of the grove features the Osun river, shrines, sculptures and art works in honour of Osun and other deities. The grove witnesses daily worshippers from every part of the World, and the most crowd is seen during the annual Osun Osogbo fetival.
The area is a thick forest that is one of the remaining spiritual forests in the south of Nigeria. Housing over 600 species of medicinal plants, the grove is also regarded as a natural herbal pharmacy with known for their medicinal uses. For more on Osun Osogbo heritage site, click here. LINK — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osun-Osogbo
- Oke-Idanre Hill,Ondo State
Image source: takemetonaija.com
One of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Nigeria, the ancient hills which lock up the Idanre town. The highest hill is 3000 feet above sea level, and the heritage site is a cluster of tall, intimidating hills that have been home to the Idanre community for over 1000 years.
Cultural remnants of the ancient monuments at the area include the shrines, the Owa’s palace, thunder water, burial mounds and grounds. Following the quest however, their ancestors lived on the plateau-like uphill that also served as a protection against invaders. Their move downhill was in 1928, following the pursuit for modern-day development. To learn more about this heritage site, go here and here .
- Gashaka-Gumpti National Park, Taraba State
Image source: logbaby.com
If you love wildlife (hello National Geographic), then you need to visit this wildlife park. It is the largest national park in Nigeria, covers 6,731 sq km and is home to a huge population of some of Africa’s and World’s rare plants and wild animals. Bird-watching fans would love to visit this site, because the park is officially labelled as one of Africa’s “Important Bird Areas” – and with over 500 species found, and over a million birds estimated to live in this park, and it is the only place where the red faced lovebird is found, aside from the Central African Republic’s Biosphere Reserve and Bamingui-Bangoran National Park.
ther rare animals found in this park include: the world’s largest antelope, chimpanzees (has West Africa’s highest population), the rare the rare Adamawa mountain reedbuck, roan antelope, giant eland, hartebeest, African wild dog, yellow-backed duiker, African golden cat, The African kob antelope (Kobus kob), the oribi and a lot others. To learn more about this park, fo here and here.
- Surame Cultural Landscape, Sokoto State
Image source: Asiri Magazine
Image source: TravelFix
Surame ancient kingdom existed around the 15th and 16th centuries. Surame Kingdom founded by Mohammadu kanta (the great warrior), who built fortresses to defend Surame Kingdom against Songhai reprisal attacks. The walls were made from millet stalks, while the gates and defensive walls are made of rocks. According to history, Surame cultural landscape is likely the most massive stone – walled constructions in West Africa, and one of the wonders of human history, creativity and ingenuity. The Surame Dry Stone monument is comparable to Great Zimbabwe and Damboshava Stone structures of Zimbabwe and Botswana, as they all have most of their features intact. To learn more about this heritage site, visit UNESCO website here
So, Which Site Will You Visit First?
By the way, this post is part of the campaign for the Nigeria Olympic Hospitality House in Rio 2016 – you should come say hello to us.
So, there you have it – the top 5 amazing heritage sites to visit in Nigeria. Hey, and if you’re a black looking for your roots or have a Nigerian blood running in you, maybe your ancestors lived in one of the featured sites.
Have you visited any of the above sites, or any of Nigeria’s UNESCO heritage sites at all? OR are you thinking of visiting? Let me hear in the comments below.