Sungbo Eredo – Yoruba Lost City And Nigeria's Hidden Wonder

Jul 14, 2011
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Sungbo Eredo

Sungbo Eredo, situated off the main road in rain forest, south-western Nigeria, has been claimed to be Africa’s largest single ancient monument. Sungbo Eredo is one of the biggest monuments in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a 100-mile-long wall and moat whose construction is believed to have began a millennium ago.

The Eredo, which encloses an area about 25 miles from south to north and 22 miles from west to east, is only about an hour northeast of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

The monument was erected around a kingdom of the Yoruba – one of the three main ethnic groups in present-day Nigeria – and surrounds several towns and villages.

The Sungbo’s Eredo earthen bank rises 70 feet in the air from the bottom of a wide ditch, its reddish, vertical wall glistening with patches of moss and it encloses an area of about 25 miles from south to north.

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Sungbo Eredo - Nigeria's Hidden Wonder

Sungbo Eredo’s association with the Islamic Queen of Sheba legends may date to the same period and it is the first definite proof that state formation occurred in the rainforest zone at the same time as in Africa’s savannah zone.

Traditional folklore links the construction of this impressive boundary to the legendary Sungbo, a wealthy childless widow, giantess, priestess/goddess, devil woman or even erstwhile Queen of Sheba, to whose grove and magically bare grave flock many long-distance pilgrims. This and the links with the present Awujale dynasty and its Odo settlements require more study.

According to local legends, the Eredo was built by Sungbo, a wealthy, childless widow who wanted to be remembered by ordering a great monument. The Eredo, which was probably constructed over three centuries, served less as a physical barrier than as a spiritual one, Mr. Darling said.

Sungbo Eredo vertical sided ditches of hardened laterite (natural soil mixture of clay and iron-oxides) show how the ditch profiles were originally dug.

Together with the bank of spoil heaped up on the inner side, the combined height can be as much as 20 metres. Trees above this gigantic ditch help protect its sides from the forces of nature.

Where these trees have fallen or been cut down, partial collapse has been the result.

Sungbo Eredo - Nigeria's Hidden Wonder
Sungbo Eredo over the last decades has been repeatedly popularised by a team of Nigerian and British archaeologists and preservationists who have succeeded in mapping the structure after the work of an earlier archaeologist piqued the curiosity of Patrick Darling, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University in Britain.

Still, this outstanding monument, a witness of ancient West African rain forest states, is waiting to take its well-earned role in history books just like numerous other lesser known monuments on this planet.

The monument was submitted into UNESCO World Heritage sites tentative list in 1995 by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments under Cultural category in criteria: (ii),(iii), (iv) and (v) of UNESCO World Heritage submission guidelines.

Criteria of submission

  • (ii): To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  • (iii): To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
  • (iv): To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  • (V): To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations. Since 1992 significant interactions between people and the natural environment have been recognized as cultural landscapes.

St. Peters Cathedral
St. Peters Cathedral is the first ever church to be built in Nigeria by the missionaries when they arrived at Abeokuta. The Cathedral being in its original form, serves as a place of worship as well as a religion monument. Your visit to Abeokuta will not be complete without a visit to this old British architecture.
 


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In Ijebu-Ode, this is an annual festival usually held two days after the Ileya festival (Muslim festival of Eid-El-Kabir) while the Ojude Oba festival of Ijebu-Isiwo is usually held three days after the Eid. It is a festival whose main purpose is for the people of Ijebu to come together as one to honour the traditional ruler and it is regarded as one of the biggest in West Africa.
 

Abeokuta Central Mosque

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Located just a stone throw from Olumo Rock, the central mosque, which is where the city’s Muslims population worship, is one of the earliest mosques to be built in Ogun State and this beautiful mosque can be clearly spotted from atop the Olumo Rock.
 

Ebute Oni Tourist Beach Resort

Ebute Oni Tourist Beach ResortEbute Oni Tourist Beach Resort
Ebute Oni is the waterfront to the small village of Oni, Ijebu Waterside, towards the southern sector of Ogun State on the Lekki lagoon. Ebute Oni is on a low-lying area below 30m above sea level which was founded by fishermen. The resort presently has four chalets to house prospective visitors.
 

Alake Palace

Alake Palace
This is an historical palace that showcases the preserved cultural heritage of Abeokuta city and Yoruba people in general. It’s particularly famous for its heavy concentration of antiquities and relics. Also, there are other places of interest within and outside the city.
 
 

Olowu Palace

The Olowu Palace
The old Owu is an historic town in old Oyo Kingdom. Owu king was a powerful and fearful king who collected tribute from the Bariba, the Borgu and had ruled over old Oyo until the reign of Sango. Owu people later migrated from the old Owu and settled within Abeokuta metropolis and its royal palace (Olowu Palace) houses lots of historical monuments.
 

Lisabi Sacred Forest

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This is a sacred forest bounded in the west by Ogun River and in the south by Tegbelu stream. It is a thick rainforest with high population of various kind of birds and endangered animals.
 

Itoku Market

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Itoku Market is where local artisans and traders enjoy haggling over price just as much as the customers like to find a bargain. This famous market is at the centre of the indigenous Abeokuta industry of tie-and-dye, which is locally known as Adire. Adire crafters are usually women – both old and young!
 

Omo Forest Reserve

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In its undisturbed form, the reserve lies within a tropical lowland rainforest and it has the most complex and productive vegetation type in the country. It is estimated that the forest supports about 8,000 species of plants.
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Olumo Rock

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This is the most spectacular and popular attraction in Ogun State. The rock used to provide sanctuary for the people as well as a vantage point to monitor the enemy’s advance leading to eventual triumph in the eighteen century inter-tribal wars.
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Hill Top Golf Resort

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Other attractions

  • Saam Health Farm and Holiday Resort
  • Abeokuta Museum, Abeokuta
  • Madam Tinubu Shrine
  • Osuuru Spring Water, Imeko
  • Egungun Festivals
  • Centenary Hall, Ake Abeokuta

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