Historical Sites in Nigeria You Should Definitely Visit

November 3, 2020

Historical sites in Nigeria are probably the most captivating scenery you may ever witness. Widely known as the giant of Africa, Nigeria is a country that has so much cultural heritage. A land rich with culture and tradition that it has become one of the top landing destinations for tourists. This is because of the places that remind one about the days of yore. In this article, we have compiled the top 10 historical sites in Nigeria that are worth visiting. That is, if you ever want to take a vacation or an excursion.

1. Oduduwa Grove

Historical sites
The frontal view of Oduduwa grove

Named after the first Ooni (King) of Ile-Ife, Oduduwa, this groove and site is a great historical and educational site. Situated in Ile-ife, the Oduduwa temple is famous because of the legendary Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba nation. Sadly, this city was his last resting place. At this location, you will find a statue of Oduduwa with the chain as often described in traditional stories. Thus, it is undeniably an interesting sight to behold. The entire scenery is a constant reminder to the Yorubas of their origin. If you ever make one of the most sacred temples in Nigeria a tourism destination, you have a local chief at the site willing to fill you with stories about the grove.

2. Ogbunike Caves

Historical sites
The interiors of Ogbunike cave

One of the best historical sites of Anambra State, the Ogbunike caves is a famous collection of caves to behold. Used as temples and sanctuaries for centuries by local villagers, these caves provide spiritual and historical significance for all Nigerians. You would have to take over 300 steps to reach the cave because of its size. The chamber of the main cave has ten tunnels which connects with each other in the form of a maze. You will find these caves in a valley in the tropical forest of southeast Nigeria in Anambra State. Several streams also flow into the caves, and another stream within flows out into river Nkissa.

3. National War Museum

Side view of the National war museum

The National War Museum is in Umuahia, Abia state. They set it up to preserve civil war memorials and the Nigerian military history. The scenery reflects the grim episode of wars that happened in Nigeria, which is part of the process for national healing and reconciliation. The museum is a collection of remnants from different war periods of Nigeria. These wars include Niger Delta conflicts, Nigerian Civil War, and even the wars of old Nigeria Empires.

4. Olumirin Waterfall

Historical sites
Olumirin waterfall, Erin-Ijesha, Osun State.

There are rumours that the granddaughter of Oduduwa, Akinla, discovered the Olumirin waterfall which attracts over 50,000 tourists every year. It is in Erin-Ijesha of Osun State and was discovered in 1140 AD. Olumirin is translated as another diety. This site is worth every bit of your attention and should be one of your top tourist site for historical places in Nigeria. This is one of the historical sites that is definitely worth your time.

5. First Storey building  

Historical sites
The first storey building in Nigeria

The first storey building in Nigeria is in Badagry. They completed the very first layers of the construction in 1842, but they completed the building in 1845. Although it may look like an ugly house to some people, it provides a real historical value for Nigeria. Besides, the building is like centuries old, isn’t that the point of history? They created the entire structure under the mission of the Church Missionary Society. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the Bishop who translated the Holy Bible from English to Yoruba, occupied the building.

6. Old Oyo Site

Ruins of buildings at Old Oyo site

The Old Oyo site lies within the confines of Old Oyo National Park, and on it are the ruins of buildings. People who lived there in the past built these structures such as the old palace compound, outer walls with ditches and a water reservoir. There are also wells, cisterns, and grinding hollows, which are proof of an extensive past settlement. They say this site is supposedly the former city of Oyo (known as Oyo-Ile), which was deserted in the 18th century after a war with Hausa/Fulani raiders. Within the park is also the famous Agbaku Cave, which served as a shelter for the ancient warriors of the Oyo-Alaafin Kingdom during the times of war.

7. Sungbo’s Eredo and Iya of Benin

Historical sites
Sungbo’s Eredo walls

Sungbo’s Eredo are walls built in honour of a female chief named Bilikisu Sungbo. These are a series of defensive walls found in the southwest of Nigeria, in Ogun and Edo states. Sungbo’s story was linked to the biblical Queen of Sheba. Archaeologists however later disproved this. People presume the Eredo walls to be the inspiration for the ‘Iya’ (walls) of Benin, which they speculate is the largest earthwork in the world.

8. Ancient Walls of Kano and Associated Sites

The ancient walls of Kano

The ancient walls of Kano and associated sites (Dala Hills, Kurmi Market and the Emir’s Palace) are a 14-kilometer city wall made of earth found in the northern part of Nigeria. They form a part of a pre-colonial civilization and governance, when the city was built for the security of the growing population of ancient Kano. The walls were completed in the 14th century, but were later extended in the 16th century which is the present structure. This among other historical sites should definitely be on your list if you are one with a penchant for archaic buildings.

9. Ogbaukwu Caves and Waterfall

Ogbaukwu cave and waterfall

The Ogbaukwu Caves and waterfall is located in Anambra state, which is in the southeastern part of Nigeria. Research says these caves are the largest in West Africa and have enough roomy compartments to accommodate an entire village. We know little about these caves, but local legend tells a story of a brave warrior who defeated lions that occupied the caves. The waterfalls are an aesthetic beauty that complements the site. The Ogbaukwu Caves and waterfall is one of the historical sites which will forever remain an attraction for many tourists.

10. Sukur Cultural Landscape

The Sukur Cultural landscape is located in the Madagali area of Adamawa State in northeastern Nigeria. This landscape has terraces on farmlands, stone-paved walkways, and dry-stone structures. On the landscape is the palace of the chief and other sacred remains that express the spiritual and material culture of an ancient society, and it is also representative of a former flourishing iron industry. This historical site is definitely worth making it to your tourist destination list.

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