Edo, a state located in the south-south part of Nigeria or the Deltan region, has a long history of civilization. It is partly what remains of the once powerful and famous imperial Benin kingdom one of the most powerful Africa Empires during 15th and 16th century.

The Benin Empire authority and influence spreading to the coast of Benin republic, the Niger delta, the north west of Niger River and Onisha in the east. Benin City now serving as the headquarters of Oredo Local Government Area and the capital of Edo state was the power-house, seat of government and the capital of the ancient Empire. It’s also the origin and ancestral home of all the descendants of ancient Benin kingdom.

The Edo people pride themselves on their wealth of history and civilization. The arts of Benin Kingdom are global brand. Benin artefacts are among the most exquisite and coveted in world’s history which represents the earliest civilization among black specifically Africans.

The state has become a year-round tourist attraction. Here is a list of some fascinating places to visit:

  1. Ogba Zoological Garden:
    The zoological gardens was established in 1915 and it was the first to have a legal statute backing in Nigeria.The garden is located in a forest reserve area near Ogba village about six kilometers from Benin City and covers a land area of about 20 hectares, which exhibits trees for their scientific and educational interestand value.Ogba zoological gardens has an appreciable stock of local and foreign species of wildlife .Over the years the gardens has served as a functional recreational park with very strong educational impact
  2. The Oba’s Palace:
    No visit to Edo State is complete without a visit to this edifice which itself is a personification of the proud and rich cultural heritage of Benin kingdom.
  3. 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.
  4. Okomu National park: It is located in Ovia South Local Government Area of Edo state. It’s some 45 kilometres west of Benin City. The park houses a rare species in the world today. That rare species is a white throated monkey. The park is also home to other animals which include; buffaloes, chimpanzees, elephants, porcupine, monkeys, antelopes, birds and several others.
  5. Emotan Statue:
    The statue of the stately woman, clad in the traditional wrapper and a headgear associated with the Benin royalty stands opposite the Oba market in Benin City. The statue was erected in honor of Emotan a patriotic woman who traded in foodstuffs at the very spot where the statue stands in the 15th century. At that period, {11th} Oba Uwaifiokun {1430AD-1440AD} usurped the throne of the Benin kingdom in place of his senior brother, Prince Ogun who was the heir apparent. Ogun in those times of travail, paid secret and nocturnal visits to Benin from his exile. On many occasions, this market woman called Emotan warmed Ogun of impending dangers and advised him against interacting with some treacherous chiefs who may reveal his presence. On one occasion Emotan actually hid prince ogun from his adversary. When Prince Ogun eventually regained the throne and was subsequently crowned as the real Oba of Benin, he took the name {12th} Oba Ewuare the great {1440AD-1473AD}. He did not forget the pivotal role played by this simple market woman, Emotan who saved him from glaring dangers during his exile years. When Emotan died, Oba Ewuare ordered that the sacred Uruhe tree be planted at the very spot where Emotan used to display her goods in Oba market and decreed that thereafter, every person in Benin who is performing any ceremony of whatever must pay homepage to Emotan. Thus to this day every citizen, including the Oba himself pays homage to Emotan.

    During the reign of {33rd} Oba Osemwende {1816AD-1848AD} the commemorative tree fell and he replanted another Uruhe tree on the same spot. In 1951, the British colonial administration officials injected the tree with poisonous chemicals and uprooted it. This action almost led to a violent mass reaction. After which the {37th} Oba Akenzua II {1933AD-1978AD} vehemently protested the destruction of the Emotan shrine. This had been there since the 15th century. Consequently, the colonialists acceded to the request for a replacement. A life-size statue was cast by Mr. J.A.Danfor in London from a clay Marquette modeled by Enomayo, professional brass caster from the Igun-Eronmwon.
    The new Emotan statue was unveiled amidst pomp and pageantry by the Oba Benin, Akenzua ll on March 20, 1954.

  6. The giant footprint of Ukhuse Oke:
    Located in a sacred grove between Ukhuse-oke and Ukhuseosi in lulehe clan of Owan west local government area, very distinct footprints of a prehistoric giant are permanently embedded on the flat granite rocks. It is believed that the footprints were made when the world was still in its molten state. It presents a challenge for archaeologists and anthropologists.
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