- There are certain landmarks everyone should know of.
- These places do a great job of telling Nigeria’s very rich history and culture.
- Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa has put together a list of the top must-see historical sites.
Nigeria is home to over 250 local languages and various rich and diverse cultures.
This heritage is reflected in certain movies, ancient places of worship, artefacts, old towns and monuments.
In honour of Nigeria’s Independence Day, we have put together a list of nine must-see historical sites to visit before the year runs out:
- The First Storey Building
Located in Badagry, Lagos State is Nigeria’s first-ever story building. The foundation was laid in 1842 and the house was later completed in 1845. Reverend Henry Townsend of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) is credited for erecting this ancient structure. It is a major tourist attraction.
- Old Oyo
The former city of Oyo (known as Oyo-Ile) can be found in southwest Nigeria. Inside the Old Oyo National Park, you will find the ancient political capital of Oyo Empire of the Yoruba people which was deserted in the 18th century after a war with Hausa/Fulani raiders. This site has the ruins of buildings built by people who used to live there.
These include the old palace compound, outer walls with ditches, a water reservoir, wells, cisterns, and grinding hollows. The park also contains the famous Agbaku Cave, which is said to have served as a shelter for the ancient warriors of the Oyo-Alaafin Kingdom during times of war.
- The Ancient Kano City Walls
Located in Kano State are the walls built to defend and protect the inhabitants of the ancient city of Kano. Construction of the ancient Kano city walls started in 1095 and was completed in the 14th century. It is regarded as one of the biggest handmade structures in the old world.
- Sungbo’s Eredo
Sungbo's Eredo is another system of defensive walls and moats. It is located to the southwest of the Yoruba town of Ijebu Ode in Ogun State, southwest Nigeria. It was reportedly built in honour of the Ijebu female chief Oloye Bilikisu Sungbo, hence the name. Some people believe that the Eredo walls were the inspiration for the ‘Iya’ (walls) of Benin —the largest man-made structure and one of the largest earthwork in the world.
- The Walls of Benin
It was created to defend the defunct Kingdom of Benin, now Benin City, the capital of Edo state. The construction is said to have started in 800 and continued into the mid-15th century.
- National War Museum
This is located in Umuahia, Abia State. It pays homage to the wars of old Nigeria Empires, the Nigerian Civil War and the Niger Delta conflicts. The museum houses relics including the weapons used in these battles.
- Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS)
This can be found in Lagos State. It is a ceremonial ground constructed in 1972. The entrance has gigantic sculptures of four white horses and seven red eagles to signify Strength and Dignity respectively.
This square has other monuments like the 26-storey Independence House and the Remembrance Arcade (with memorials to World War I, World War II and Nigerian civil war victims). The Independence house was built in 1963 with a capacity of 50,000 people. It used to be the tallest building in Nigeria.
- Slave Museum
The Slave Museum is located in Calabar, Cross River State. It contains the materials used during the slave trade like shackles, chains, the variety of currencies used to buy people (copper bars, brass bells, and flutes). There is a similar one in Badagry, Lagos state.
- Arochukwu Long Juju Slave Route
This can be found in Abia, a state in the southeastern part of Nigeria. The Arochukwu Long Juju Slave Route is a six-foot gully that takes people to the temple judgment that was used back in the day.
The site has the home of the shrine of Ibin Ukpabi with a Kamalu-‘The Ancient Warrior god’, an altar and a waterfall. It was listed in 2007 on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.