Historical Places To Visit In Yorubaland
Yorubaland has a rich cultural heritage infiltrated by its language, songs, traditional religious practices, folktales, lore, chants, and history. The heritage comes in the form of ancient places of worship, artefacts, old towns, and monuments, just to mention a few.
These are some heritage sites in Yorubaland that are worth exploring.
Some people consider Abeokuta, with her rocky landscape and historical features, a portal between the physical and the spiritual.
The most famous landmark in the town is Olumo Rock, a hill that served as a hiding place for the Egba people during the slave-taking expeditions of the Yoruba Civil War. The town itself is named after it, as Abeokuta means “under the rock” and there are man-made stairwells that make climbing the rock relatively easy. Along the way are shrines, usually tended to by women, and dedicated to different gods. Getting to the top of the hill is worth the climb because it gives you an aerial view of the whole town.
Some other sites to visit in Abeokuta include the ancient palace of Alake of Egba, the Centenary Hall, the Old Abeokuta, where the freed Saro slaves who emigrated from Brazil and Cuba settled, and the Bilikisu Sungbo Shrine.
Known as Oyo-Ile, Old Oyo is said to be the former city of Oyo, which was deserted in the 18th century after a war with Hausa/Fulani raiders. The place lies within the borders 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.
It is home to many animals and several colourful bird species. Also within the park is the famous Agbaku Cave, which served as a shelter for the ancient warriors of the Oyo-Alaafin Kingdom during times of war.
Other sites to visit in Oyo include Mapo Hall, the National Museum of National Unity and Bower’s Tower, which was erected as a memorial of Captain Robert Lister Bower, the first British Resident in Ibadan.
Osun-Osogbo is a sacred grove of Osun, the goddess of fertility and one of the popular deities in Yorubaland, and is located on the outskirts of Osogbo, Osun state. The Osun-Osogbo Grove is several centuries old.
The groves which are dotted by shrines, sculptures, and artwork represent a time when people devoted areas outside their settlements to deities which are regarded as sacred. The Osun-Osogbo grove itself is located in a dense forest that is one of the primary high forests in Southern Nigeria.
Other sites to visit in Osogbo include Erin Ijesha Waterfall also known as the Olumirin Waterfalls, and Oduduwa Shrine and Grove.
Also called Oke Idanre, the hills are about 680 steps from the bottom to the peak and are said to have nine wonders and myths like mysterious handwritings etched into the rock which has never been decoded.
Also on the hill is a magical footprint that fits any foot put in it.
The town of Idanre has other historical sites such as the first primary school built in 1896, which still stands, as well as a law court and ancient prison built in 1906 by colonialists.