South Western Nigeria is home to various important cultures and fascinating traditions. A whole lot of exciting features, beliefs, customs and attractive monuments accompany this great cultures, one of such features lie in the various cultural centers that portray strong cultural customs and tight traditional ties. These cultural centers epitomize the beauty and splendor of various cultures and traditions in South Western Nigeria. Here are some of the most popular cultural centers in South Western Nigeria;
Located in Iganmu, a suburb of Lagos, National theater was established in 1976 in preparation for “FESTAC 77”, and it’s the leading center for performing arts in Nigeria. This important cultural landmark was established for the preservation, presentation and promotion of Arts and Culture in Nigeria. It has hosted a large number of international music concerts, exhibitions, film shows, symposia, drama, conventions, workshops and indoor sports competitions.
Cultural Center, Ibadan
Cultural Center situated on Mokola hill, is one of the most exquisite and fascinating landmarks in the ancient city of Ibadan. Standing tall for close to four decades, it was used to compliment various events that took place at “FESTAC 77”. It’s home to various prominent traditional Nigerian artistes, innovative cultural displays, art exhibitions, stage performances, and other cultural events.
Bilikisu Sungbo Shrine
Built in honor of a noble and wealthy Ijebu woman who was also a childless widow, Oloye Bilikisu Sungbo, the Bilikisu Sungbo Shrine is a combination of ditches, smoothly engraved walls and shallow valleys located in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. It serves as a spiritual and traditional center for both Muslims and Christians that want to pay homage to Oloye Bilikisu Sungbo. It is believed that this shrine was a means of unifying an area of diverse communities into a single kingdom. The Birikisu Sungbo Shrine also has a tale that features the Queen of Sheba.
Osun Osogbo Shrine
The Osun shrine is another unique traditional landmark located in Osogbo, Osun State that was established more than four centuries ago. It plays host to the annual Osun festival which attracts thousands of Osun worshipers, visitors and tourists alike. The Osun Osogbo shrine was further made popular by Susanne Wenger (also known as “Adunni Olorisa”), an Austrian tourist who camped there and stopped some prohibited actions that used to be rampant. In 2005, it was made a UNESCO World heritage site.
Alaafin of Oyo’s Palace
Arguably one of the biggest and most sacred monarchical palaces in South Western Nigeria, the Alaafin of Oyo’s palace was the center of the Old Oyo empire and a spiritual home of the Yoruba rulers and warlords. The Palace was a place where sub-rulers of the Oyo empire would come to pay homage to the Alaafin and renew their allegiances to him. There’s a pond in the palace where the Alaafin keeps gold fish, and also a tortoise in the courtyard said to be more than a hundred years old. However, whoever enters the king’s courtyard must remove his shoes, everyone except the Alaafin must have bare feet in his greeting courtyard.
Ooni of Ife’s Palace
The Ooni’s Palace is located in Ile Ife, Osun State. Ile Ife is regarded as the spiritual home and cradle of the Yorubas. The Ooni of Ife in some quarters, is considered as the most powerful monarch in Yoruba land. The Ooni’s Palace is a structure built of authentic enameled bricks, decorated with artistic porcelain tiles and ornaments. This palace receives lots of important personalities and dignitaries daily, its status is high and gracefully exquisite.
Mapo Hall is another graceful structure located in the ancient city of Ibadan, a unique and exquisite edifice standing at the top of Mapo hill. Mapo Hall which was created in 1925 was set up to offer the inhabitants of Ibadan a chance to organize meetings, hold cultural festivals, symposia and exhibitions. It holds a special and unique place in the folklore of the Ibadan people. Mapo hall gives visitors a beautiful scenery, one that leaves lasting and precious memories.
If there’s a museum in Nigeria that has a remarkable collection of artifacts, archaeological exhibits, unique artworks and lovely paintings, the National Museum is one of the surest bets. Founded in 1957 by an English archaeologist Kenneth Murray in Onikan, Lagos, the National museum has exhibits like the Benin Ivories and bronzes, the Ife Bronzes and the Nok Terracotta. A proud feature of Nigeria’s cultural heritage.
Nike Art Gallery
The Nike Art Gallery is owned by artist and designer, Nike Davies Okundaye, and is located in four cities, namely; Lagos, Osogbo, Abuja, and Ogijo. The Nike Art Gallery is home to various piece of indigenous artworks like Adire, bead work, batik, embroidery, metalwork, drums, paintings and carvings.
Established in 2004, Terra Kulture was created by Bolanle Austen-Peters in a bid to preserve, Nigeria’s culture and rich traditions, by setting up an educational center coupled with the right blend of arts, culture and lifestyle. Located in Victoria Island, Lagos, Terra Kulture comprises of an art gallery, a restaurant, a theater and a book library. Every year, there is also an art auction and the Taruwa festival of performing arts.
Preserving our traditions and cultural heritage is of utmost importance, these centers have immensely played their own unique parts.