ABEOKUTA…the City Under the Rock
Outpacing its ancient and historic past, reflected by the corrugated roofs of homes,Abeokuta has evolved over the years to become a burgeoning city in politics, tourism, and economy. It is now a choice destination for many seekers of enthralling adventure.
The rocky landscape, the hospitable people, the festival and the culture are closely knitted to the city’s past which can be described as terrifying. The rocks located around Abeokuta, which literally means under-the-rock, are revered for providing refuge for indigenes fleeing slave hunters from Dahomey and Ibadan as well as war.
Serving as the State capital of Ogun state with a population of 449,088, it is next door neighbours with the commercial city of Lagos. The major ethnic group in Abeokuta are the Egbas whose paramount ruler is the Alake of Egbaland, HRH Oba Adedotun Gbadebo III. He ascended the throne in August 2005. Want to know more about this antique settlement? Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 hotel booking portal tells you more!
Olumo Rock is arguably the most popular tourist destination in Nigeria. The popularity of Olumo Rock was boosted when it got a deserved facelift from the Ogun State government over two decades ago. Before it became a tourist hub, the rock served as a safe haven for those fleeing from inter-tribal wars. It also offered Egba warriors a vantage position to watch their aggressors, granting them of victory in every battle. The rock is 137 meters above sea level and there are several steps you have to climb to get to the top. This will give you overwhelming, and panoramic view of Abeokuta. It is a very nice place to have a picnic or honeymoon.
Adire is a traditional attire that is dear to the hearts of Abeokuta people. Itoku can be described as the ancestral home of Adire. In other words, the origin of this fabric can be traced to the town of Itoku. It is few metres away from the Olumo rock. For tourists who are interested in learning about how this fabric is made, then Itoku market must be on their itinerary. It is a craft that has been transferred from one generation to another and the people will never allow it go moribund. Other souvenirs you can buy at the market are local beads, sculptures, musical instruments and bracelets. Today, Adire enthusiast use this attire to make bags, shoes, earrings, pouch and other creative products.
The Lisabi festival is celebrated annually to recognise the efforts if Lisabi, a local warrior who contributed immensely to the emancipation of the Egba’s from oppression as far back as the 18th century. The festival is heralded by the booming of dane-guns on Olumo Rock by local hunters. Important features of the festival are seminars, quiz competition, football competitions among the four divisions of Egbaland namely Owu, Ake, Oke-Ona, and Gbagura, Aayo; horse riding and masquerade parade. In between, gifts are offered to the king by the people. The festival is in its 30th edition.
Abeokuta has an impressive collection of hotels ranging from the expensive to affordable. In case you find yourself in the city ‘Under-the-Rock’ (Abeokuta), you haveGreen Legacy Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson, Quarry Imperial Hotels Limited, Daktad suites, Paris Estate Palace Hotel among others to select from. These hotels are available on Jovago.com.
Abeokuta is the largest city in Ogun State. Although, it is an evolving urban center there are so many places to relax, and unwind. For example, if you want to watch a movie, you can go to the Olusegun Obasanjo Cinema House at Oke-Mosan or Capricorn Cinema at the Cultural Centre in Kuto. If you decide not to check out the cinema, there are nice restaurants you can go with your date like Mama Cass Restaurant, Maryland Restaurant, Predave Restaurant, Right Choice Restaurant and Iwe Iroyin Food Canteen.
Some of the shopping centres are FCE Osiele Shopping mall, Alhaji Ayeni Shopping Complex, Saraki Shopping complex, Molade shop, Divine Supermarket, and Ayoola DPM variety stores. You can walk into any of these shops for shopping.
The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) was a former campus of the University of Lagos. The campus was opened in 1984 to focus on science, agriculture, and technology. It became a degree awarding institution the following year.
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