Are you a traveller or a leisure tourist in Nigeria and are looking for historical sites in Nigeria that you can visit? I have outlined 10 of the most popular historical sites in Nigeria that you can go to and see things for yourself.
But what are historical sites?
Historic sites or Heritage sites are official locations where pieces of cultural, political, military, or social history have been preserved because of their cultural heritage value. A historic site is usually protected by law, and several of them have been recognized with the official national historic site status.
A historic site could be in the form of a structure, landscape, site or building that is of local, regional, or national importance.
Historic sites and heritage sites are usually kept for members of the public to be able to tour.
Visitors may come out of a sense of nostalgia for past eras, out of wishing to discover their cultural heritage or general interest in learning about the historical meaning of the site.
Various sites give guided tours for visitors, led by site staff who have been equipped to offer an interpretation of life at the time the site represents.
A site could also have a visitor centre with more contemporary architecture and facilities, which serves as a gateway between the outside world and the historic site and lets visitors learn some of the historical features of the site without excessively exposing locations that may need tactful treatment.
Nigeria’s long history of kingdoms and empires and its diverse, ancient cultures have all added to the wealth of historical and cultural sites that you’d be reading in this article.
Here is a list of historical sites in Nigeria you should visit.
TOP 10 HISTORICAL SITES IN NIGERIA
House Of Mary Slessor, Calabar
When it comes to historical monuments in Nigeria, Mary Slessor’s will be my number one. She wanted to follow in the footprints of the great explorer David Livingstone but ended up doing missionary work in the country. Today, her house still stands in Calabar. She was renowned for putting an end to the killing of twins in the Southern parts of Nigeria during the colonial era of the 1800s. You can also find her tomb nearby in the Mission Hill Cemetery.
See video of Mary Slessor’s house below:
First Storey Building, Badagry
Facing the Marina waterfront in Badagry, this is the first multi-storey building ever constructed in Nigeria. It was built in 1845 by a Christian missionary known as Reverend Henry Townsend. It has historical value as it coincides with the arrival of European missionaries who helped translate the Bible into Yoruba, forever changing the culture in the region.
Watch video of the First Storey building in Nigeria:
Slave History Museum, Calabar
Calabar’s Slave History Museum is one of the top cultural sites in Nigeria worth visiting in order to discover the historical events that shaped this area, which was previously a major slave port. The building houses various artefacts from the slave age, including remnants of ships and their cargo. It’s not the most pleasant visit, but still, go to take it all in.
Below is a video showing the slave history museum in Calabar.
Nigerian National Museum, Lagos
This museum has one of, if not the, largest collections of Nigerian art and artefacts in the world. You can find everything from intricate wood carvings, to huge stone monuments, to bronze statues from indigenous groups. There are also exhibits dating back to 550 B.C., from the Nok culture during Africa’s Iron Age.
National War Museum, Abia State
The National War Museum was built to preserve the gigantic number of relics from wars that’s been waged by Nigeria through the centuries. Here you can see artefacts from the Nigerian Civil War from 1967-1970, materials from the Niger Delta conflicts, and installations that depict weapons used in past empires around the country. The museum stands as a reminder of how fresh the dark days of the country were.
The video of the national war museum in Abia is shown below:
Mbari Cultural Centre, Imo State
This centre is greatly significant to Igbo cultural history and traditions. It’s sometimes referred to the “house of gods,” and is home to numerous sculpted figures from the Igbo people. You’ll also learn an idea of what everyday life was like for the ancient Igbo through the stories and artefacts found everywhere in the centre.
Badagry Heritage Museum, Badagry
Badagry used to be one of the most influential trading ports in West Africa in the 1500s onwards — it’s reckoned that more than 500,000 slaves passed through here on their way to the New World. There are eight galleries inside that lead you through different periods of Badagry history, as well as the pre-slave era, the slave era, and the post-slave era. It’s a sobering reminder of the centuries of a dark history that this area was a witness to.
Here is a video highlighting the Black Heritage Museum in Badagry.
The Sukur Kingdom, Adamawa State
The Sukur Kingdom is a UNESCO World Heritage site resided above the village of Sukur and located on Mandara Mountain. It is an ancient settlement with a long history of ironwork, and strong political institutions dating back to the 16th century. The grounds contain both above-ground and below-ground structures, along with many shrines and ceramics.
Osun Sacred Grove, Osogbo
Positioned on the outskirts of Osogbo, this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most spiritual spots in Yoruba culture. It’s one of the only remaining models of the once-widespread Yoruba settlement design. Just a century ago, there were several in Yorubaland, but most have been demolished. The interesting design and statues throughout reflect the belief of Yoruba cosmology, and each year there is a massive celebration of the Yoruba gods nearby at the Osun River.
See a video documentary of the Osun Sacred Grove below:
Emir Of Kano Palace, Kano
Kano is considered as one of the most prominent historical places in Nigeria and the Emir’s palace is one of its most transcendent buildings. The Hausa culture has subsisted in the region for over 1,000 years and has had a king since the year 999. If you go, try to time it with the vibrant Durbar festival, in which the Emir (King) and his entourage are accompanied by bejewelled horsemen and a large parade. Muhammadu Sanusi II (CON, born Sanusi Lamido Sanusi 31 July 1961) is the current and 14th Emir of Kano. He was crowned on 8 June 2014 after the death of his granduncle Ado Bayero on 6 June 2014.
I want to believe you’ve made your pick(s) from the 10 historical sites in Nigeria I’ve outlined. So go out and have fun!
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