3 Things you didn’t know about Benin

There is a lot for you to discover if you haven’t taken a trip to Benin City, Nigeria. Growing up, I always thought the best stories were tales from other countries. Of course, they are exciting and new; but the Coronavirus pandemic pulled the beauty around me to focus. How well do you know your country or the state you live in presently?

Here are 5 things you need to know about Benin City to place it on your To-See List.

Benin City is Old.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. The Benin Empire was one of the oldest and most highly developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa formed around the 11th Century AD. It was ruled by a long line of monarchs from the ogisos to obas

The Great Benin Kingdom is described as the center of Nigeria’s development with its roots of conquest stretching over areas we know today as Eko, Badagry, and Lagos. 

 

The Ancient Wall Monument

The walls of Benin and the surrounding moat were featured in the 1974 Edition of the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest earthworks before the mechanical era. It was dug in the 13th and 15th Centuries by Oba Oguola and Oba Ewuare I.

The walls of Benin were described by the New Scientist Fred Pearce as ‘four times longer than the great wall of China, and consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops’. 

It stretched for about 16,000km with more than 500 settlement boundaries connected to it.

 

Benin is the Home of Bronze

It is popular knowledge that Benin is the home of the best Bronze casters. It is hard to discern when the tradition started, but Oba Oguola in the 14th Century (1280AD) established a guild system.

The 31-Guild system was so secretive it was impossible for outsiders to invade. They had the sole task of preserving the Kingdom’s bronze for prosperity’s sake. Bronze production and distribution were tightly controlled by the Oba before the invasion by the British. Bronze, ivory, and wood artifacts such as heads of kings and queens amongst others were used to decorate the royal palace.

Today, Igun-Eronmwon Quarters (Igun Street) is the hub of bronze casting in Benin.

Benin City is rich in culture which can be experienced all around. You can stumble into street after street intricately connected to lead to the place you desire. It is a sight to behold.

 

 

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