With its rich cultural heritage and urbanized environs, Benin City is a great travel destination to go to this year. It is well-known as the capital of Edo State (Southern Nigeria) and as the centre of the Bini Kingdom, but not many have seen its historical landmarks, breath-taking natural features and more. Benin is definitely one of those places in Nigeria where there’s so much to do and learn; perfect for that much-needed holiday.
We’ve compiled a list of top attractions to see whenever you’re in the great city. Remember to take your camera along with you so you can re-live captured moments after your trip:
1. Igun-Eronmwon quarters: If you are a lover of arts, then you should visit the Igun-Eronmwon quarters popularly known as Igun Street (listed as a Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO). It is home to the brass/bronze casting industries in Benin City. Feel free to admire, witness bronze casting from the various stages and purchase any piece of your choice.
2. The markets: Interact with the locals and buy nice souvenirs at the popular Benin City markets. There are many to choose from – the Oba Market, New Benin Market and Agbado Market, just to name a few.
3. Chief Ogiamen’s House: Chief Ogiamen’s house is located at No. 97, Sakponba Road in Benin City. It is a National Monument situated within the city walls and Moat (another historical monument). Built about 1130AD with great significance as the only building that predates the emergence of Obaship in Benin’s political organization and the only building that survived the 1897 British expedition and siege. It was declared a National Monument on May 26th, 1959.
4. The Royal Oba’s Palace: No vacation in Benin City is complete without visiting the Oba of Benin’s palace. It’s culturally at the heart of the city and a repository of Benin crafts dating as far back as 900 AD. The current structure has been in existence since 1914 and is actually one-tenth of the original palace which was destroyed by the British Forces.
5. Benin National Museum: Learn more about the city’s history and culture by visiting its museum. This national museum is home to various antiques and bronze artwork originally from the ancient Benin Kingdom.
6. The Benin Moat: The Benin Moat also known as ‘Iya’ is the largest man made earthwork in the world. Indeed, one of the wonders of the world that you should see. It predates the use of modern earth moving equipments or technology in these parts. The moat encircles the perimeter of the city and was constructed as a defensive barrier in times of war. Oba Oguola (about 1280-1295) dug the first and second moats to fortify the city from invaders.