Nigeria is a country with a lot of history under its sleeves. It has seen things and experienced various eras and regimes over the decades. Just like many other countries all around the world, Nigeria has famous historical and structural landmarks that each tell a different story and represents various eras or periods in the country’s timeline.
Most of these historical landmarks are actually buildings and shelters that might have served a rather different or specific purpose as compared to what they might be used for today. Now, let us take a tour of these buildings, what they represent and why they have become quite so famous today.
The first-ever constructed storey building in Nigeria can be found in Badagry, Lagos. It was erected in 1845 by no one other than the late Reverend Bernard Freeman after its foundations were laid by the late Reverend Henry Townsend.
The building was once used by the Methodist church as a school for primary and secondary level education. This great building would then later go to become the residential abode of the great Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther of the Church Mission Society popularly called CMS for short.
The building, now owned by the government and recognized as a national treasure, still stands tall to this very day.
#2 NATIONAL WAR MUSEUM
Located in Abia state, the national war museum is a reminder of the country’s dark past. Every country goes through one internal strife or the other especially during its transference of power. When there is a problem with this process, civil wars tend to break out. Nigeria, just like many other great countries, has had its own fair share of civil wars.
The National War Museum in Abia is more than just another historical building; it is a place that seeks to remind, educate and reconcile the Nigerian masses regarding the bad blood that existed as a result of the war, in order to stop something like this from ever repeating itself again.
#3 MARY SLESSOR HOUSE
This building was constructed back in the late nineteenth century in Calabar, in the south-south region of the country. It belonged to Mary Mitchell Slessor, a missionary of Scottish origin, who is most admired and known for her vital role in stopping the unreasonable killings of twins in that region.
Her self-sacrificial attitude won her a place in the hearts of the indigenous people of that land, she even went as far as learning the language. Today, the House of Mary Slessor stands as a beacon of hope and tolerance in the Ekenge area of Calabar.
#4 GOBIRAU MINARET
This is an ancient as well as imposing structure that was built sometime between the mid-14th century and early 15th century. Located in Katsina in the Northern part of Nigeria, the Gobirau Minaret served as not just a religious structure, but also a good vantage point for an enemy look-out, considering the fact that it stood at about 50ft above the ground.
The seven hundred (700) year old structure is one of Nigeria’s oldest buildings to date.
#5 ANCIENT NOK SETTLEMENT
Kaduna is one of the most popular areas in the Northern part of the country. It is home to a lot of historical and ancient structures, one of which is the Ancient Nok Settlement. The Ancient Nok settlement is a small site that can be found in the Jaba local government area of Kaduna state.
The ancient NOK settlement was unearthed in the early 20th century and has ever since, shown us a glimpse at the ancient Nok civilization. It holds terracotta structures and artefacts as well as a breathtaking display of the ancient way of life of the people of that time and place.
#6 THE OBA OF BENIN PALACE
Constructed by the great Oba Ewedo in the early thirteenth (13th) century. The Oba’s palace has experienced various years and periods in the country’s history. It was later rebuilt and modified by Oba Eweka the second in the recent twentieth (20th) century.
This is one of the few enduring structures of the Benin Empire; an empire that can be considered as one of the best west African empires, that remains till this day. It is one of UNESCO’s Heritage sites.
#7 ANCIENT WALLS OF KANO
The foundations to the Kano city walls were laid by Sakri Gijimasu, the 3rd (third) Emir of Kano. Just like Benin, Kano is an ancient City, but unlike Benin, it is located in the North. The Northern Territory of then was plagued by struggles for territory and invasions.
The city walls were built to serve as a defensive structure that could hinder the advances of invaders. The 900-year-old wall took over 200 years to be completely built due to the economic and social unrest at the time.
#8 SUNGBO EREDO
This structure can be found in Ijebu Ode area of Ogun state. There is little that is known about this structure. It is about a thousand years old, one of the oldest surviving structures that this country has. It is famous for the legend that surrounds its construction.
According to popular legend, the structure was built by Eredo, a wealthy widow who had no child of her own. She built this structure as a form of legacy for people to remember her.
#9 BENIN NATIONAL MUSEUM
Unlike the other buildings mentioned on this list, the Benin National museum does not date back to precolonial times, as a matter of fact, it was officially declared open in 1973. It is famous worldwide for housing and displaying ancient artefacts from not just the Ancient Benin Kingdom, but even from other ancient African empires and kingdoms.
#10 FIRST PRESBYTARIAN CHURCH
The first Presbyterian church can be located in Calabar. The reason why Calabar, as well as other regions of the south and south-west, have so many early western related structures is that foreigners gained access to the country through these areas since they were locked by the Atlantic Ocean, which these foreigners used to travel to the country.
The building was completed in 1846 and since then, has been dedicated to missionary and charity work.