Nigeria is a culturally-diverse country, with over 250 local languages. These various cultures have very rich histories and backgrounds and the local people are incredibly proud of their heritage. The heritage comes in the form of ancient places of worship, artifacts, old towns and monuments, to mention a few. These are the top 10 heritage sites in Nigeria, all recognized by UNESCO.
1. Osun-Osogbo Sacred Groves:
The sacred groves of Osun, the goddess of fertility and one of the most popular deities in Yorubaland, are located on the outskirts of Osogbo, which is about 230 kilometers from Lagos. The groves, which are dotted by shrines, sculptures, and artworks, represent a time when people dedicated areas outside their settlements to deities, areas which are regarded as sacred. The Osun-Osogbo grove itself is located in a dense forest that is one of the primary high forest in southern Nigeria.
2. Idanre hills:
The hills of Idanre are found in Ondo State in the southwest of Nigeria, about 300 kilometers from Lagos. The hills are about 680 steps from the bottom to the peak and have mysterious handwritings etched into the rock, which have never been decoded. On the hill also is a magical footprint that fits any foot put in it. The town of Idanre has other historical sites, including the building of the first primary school built in 1896 which still stands, as well as a law court and adjoining prison built in 1906 by colonialists. There the inner court of the Oba’s palace is also an interesting place for tourists, with its various sculptures, crafted many years ago. The Idanre hill was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in October 2007, in the cultural category.
3. Old Oyo:
Old Oyo in southwest Nigeria is a said to be the former city of Oyo (known as Oyo-Ile), which was deserted in the 18th century after a war with Hausa/Fulani raiders. The site lies within the confines of Old Oyo National Park, and on it are the ruins of buildings built by people who lived there in the past, 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. Within the park is also the famous Agbaku Cave, which served as shelter for the ancient warriors of the Oyo-Alaafin Kingdom during times of war.
4. Ogbunike Caves:
The Ogbunike Caves are found in a valley in the tropical forest of southeast Nigeria, in Anambra State. Descending into the valley is a lengthy walkway of 317 steps, which were constructed by the state government. The cave, has about 10 inner chambers and several tunnels, some of which are interlinked. Several streams also flow into the caves, and another stream within flows out into river Nkissa. The caves have a spiritual significance for the local people, and a festival is celebrated to commemorate the discovery of the caves. Bats are the main occupants of the caves, but other animals can be found in the tropical rainforest vicinity, including antelopes, porcupines, and snakes.
5. Oban Hills and landscape:
Oban Hills are part of the Cross River National Park, which is contiguous with Korup National Park in Cameroon. The Oban Hills are home to a variety of wildlife including the Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzee, which has brought about a lot of conservation efforts in the hills and the surrounding landscape.
Ancient Walls of Kano and Associated Sites
Sukur Cultural Landscape
Alok Ikom Stone Monoliths
Ogbaukwu Caves and Waterfall
Sungbo’s Eredo and Iya of Benin
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