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Queen Amina's palace at Zauzzau

                                                                                       Tourism   Historical monuments                                                            

Kaduna as home of tourism is shown by the abundance of its exotic tourist’s sites. Among such sites include; 

The old Palace in Zaria city from which Queen Amina ruled Zazzau in the 16th century has become one of the most important tourist sites in the State. Still serving the same purpose following the coming of the Emirate system in Northern Nigeria following the 1804 Jihad of Usman Dan Fodio. Though the Palace has expanded from what it was, but it still houses the relics of the old palace, the living quarters of the legendary Queen Amina at the beginning of her reign. The palace consists of four council chambers named after former Emirs. There is a large living area for guards and serfs and office for the administrative purposes. The extensive use of the habe (former Hausa rulers) architectural designs were in use taking into consideration the safety and security of the area. This explains the thickness of the walls, the wood and locally constructed concrete roofs so thick as to withstand any form of attack. Inside the palace reveals the architectural ingenuity of the people. Each of the rooms is inter-connected to one another, and with intricate drawings and exquisite paintings that gives the palace its splendour. Despite the warm climate of Zaria in most period of the year, the interior of the palace maintains its room temperature owing to the walls that insulates the building from sun’s heat. It is simply irresistible to witness myth, folklore and this history project, the sheer grandeur of beauty and elegance of the traditional Hausa-Fulani culture in Zaria city which houses the palace and its adjoining communities. From the intoned chants of the quuranic pupils and the earnest lips of diverse praise singers at the entrance of the palace, to the more refined art of royal barbs who are always in their colourful costume ushering in visitors to the palace, one is at home with nature and beauty of human imagination which is on display at the palace of Emir of Zazzau.   

                                                                                                                                              NOK VILLAGE


The Nok culture which dates back over 2,500 years old is no doubt one of the greatest and best known cultures in the world. Although it was Benard Fagg an archeologist who originally began the collection of the Nok Terracotta heads discovered by tin miners in 1943 at the Nok site, when carbon-dated, these masterpieces made of clay were discovered to have been created around 500 BC. Many new findings however indicate that some of the works can be dated much earlier than this. What makes Nok terracotta enigmatic is because of the fact that the three hollows represent eyes and mouth without ears which continue to dumbfound curators all over the world. At the entrance of the village are artworks depicting the creativity of a culture beyond human imagination. 


Within the Nok village is an excavation site originally gored by tin miners in 1943. it is in the process of mining tin in this historic site that the miners discovered the ancient terracotta works. Being a highly superstitious people, they believed that these excavated clay heads were harbingers of bad luck and evil and went on to destroy them. This trend continues until information got to Benard Fagg a colonial archeologist working in Northern Nigeria at the time, who quickly arranged for the transfer and preservation of the remaining excavated works. His later carbon-dating of the finds, revealed that the works were created around the year 500BC. Because of the significance of this find and the Project, Benard Fagg decided to make his home in the area and ended up with a large collection of the Nok terracotta, some of which he deposited at the newly created department of Antiquity in Jos. 

History of the Nok culture is history of a people who left a village called Ham in Egypt many millennia ago. On arriving at this virgin land, according to legend, they discovered that the land is bordered by impenetrable mountains and forests infested with deadly reptiles and loose sand dunes that would easily swallow the unwary and to keep invaders at bay. On finding this land, the people took shelter in the caves and the natural rock shelters abound in the new settlement. This provided them shelter from warring tribes around the area until the European adventure and subsequent pacification that followed their coming, which brought the period of inter-communal warfare to an end. Though secluded from others by the mountains, the Nok people over time developed a system of administration that ensured the maintenance of law and order in their place of abode. They built what became known as the city of Nok at the foot of the hills. 

The basic understanding of the Nok culture can be glanced through their judicial system or mode of inheritance. It is a known fact that the Nok’s judicial system pre-dates the western judicial system. The Nok people created classes of courts used in adjudicating on cases from minor to criminal ones. There is the traditional open courts, area court, high courts and the appeal courts. According to Mang Gang Chai, the curator of Nok antiquity, these courts were used in investigating and to uncover the truth in both minor and major crimes. The people strongly believed that every crime attracts a curse which was capable of destroying whole family and must be uncovered to avoid the consequences. 

There are two major cases handled by the courts, one bothering on minor family disputes, stealing, false allegation among others and the other on major crimes like murder, adultery and others considered grievous. When crimes are committed, suspects are brought to the open court for traditional oath taking. The court is presided over by the Chief Priest who sits on a high rock chair. Beside him is another rock table surrounded by the various clan heads who sits in semi-circular arrangement as the trial go on.

At the centre of the court are two stone monoliths representing the gods of the land (Male and Female), the larger one being the female and the smaller one the male. In taking the oath the suspect stands between the two monoliths directly facing the sun, the most supreme god called Nom. The suspect then swears to tell the truth. Cases that cannot be resolved in the open court are taken to the high court which sits within an enclosed shrine. Traditionally, women do not take the oath but a male relative can take the oath on her behalf in cases referred to the high court which is located inside the shrine, and such a relative must have attained the statutory age of eighteen and above and duly initiated into the shrine cult. The same high priest presides over proceedings at the high court and any one found guilty is fined goats and chicken for sacrifice to the gods and local wine for the chief priest.

After a case of crime is successfully resolved, the town declares a day of celebration on which the people thank the gods for their graces in successfully resolving the issue and averting doom for the people. 

This is another sacred tradition of the Nok people. According to legend, the initiated members of the communal cult are believed to resurrect after death in form of masquerade on an appointed day at the cave located at the outskirt of the town, to give directives to the last wish to family members and relatives in relation to his estate. On the appointed day, virgin girls are made to grind millet and along with members of the deceased family members carry same to the cave (also known as the Supreme Court), singing and dancing as they prepare to meet their dead. Upon their approach, the dead man is believed to spring up in the form of a masquerade and together they dance to the village square. Here, he issues out instruction to his family members on how to carry on in his absence. If he had a wife, he tells her on that occasion who among his male family member will inherit her provided she wishes to not to remarry outside the family. 

                                                                                                                         BENARD FAGG’S HOUSE

Benard Fagg the collector and curator of the Nok terracotta had a beautiful cottage on top of Nok rock. The multi-purpose family house built on stone, mud, wood and iron roofing has a stone fountain supported by cemented floor. Its components are; a living room, kitchen, bathroom and a relation balcony. The whole structure is painted white and has little French windows. A nearby outhouse serve as toilet while a stream at the foot of the rock on which the house stands provides fresh water for the family. Till date the house remains strong and beautiful through time. Though no longer in use, the house is maintained as historical monument for tourism by the present curator of Nok antiquity.   



The Kagoro Hills scenery is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Kaduna State. The hills influence the weather of the area and the area enjoys a nice climate similar to that of Jos Plateau. There is heavy rainfall with mild fresh humid wind during the rainy season. The hills also form a long range, with tall trees and rocky places at the base. The area is good for rock climbing, hunting, mountaineering and has very beautiful sceneries for picnics and general relaxation.   


                                                                                                                                               KAGORO RANGES

Towering above Kagoro town is the Kagoro hill the original settlement of present day Kagoro town. Story had it that the inhabitants of Kagoro town had lived atop the hill ranges for hundreds of years before their eventual relocation to the present site at the foot of the hill owing to coming of the Europeans with its attendant changes in social and economic life. However in spite of this relocation, many settlements still exist atop the serene hill ranges which boast of a school and health centre. Like most traditional societies, the Kagoro hill settlers live in cluster of compounds hedged by cactus shrubs serving as border separating the various compounds. The range covers an unbelievable large expanse of undulating plains stretching as far as the eyes can see. According to the natives, these plains stretch as far as Jos in neighbouring Plateau and Bauchi States . The topography and steep ranges serve as a natural habour of safety for the people during the period of inter-communal strives. 

The Kagoro hill is surrounded by myths and legends that it is customary for tourists who desire to enjoy the ascent to the hill is expected to seek the consent of the village chief before ascending the hill, the chief customarily offers prayers for a safe passage to the top of the hill. Apart from this routine, the hill is believed to habour a sacred bee colony and climbers are warned not to apply perfumes or creams that may attract the bees before the climb. Having observed these rituals, the climb commences. As the guides lead the adventure from the foot of the hill, one notice forged secret pathways along and around cliffs and crevices, nooks and crannies, streams and brooks all the way to the top. These trails were obviously hidden with safety in mind as they are naturally concealed from newcomers and from view of the town. With the native guides however, a tourist is delighted on every turn as the wonders of the hill is unveiled. Besides the curves intersected by amazing rock formations, there were numerous fresh water springs running the length and breathe of the hill.

The amazing thing is the presence of a chilling spring source tagged ‘palm wine bar’ by the natives. This stop over point is where they store their palm wine kegs to chill within minutes for refreshment as they continue their climb. This spot is a favourite for picnickers and tourists due to its refreshing allure and calm nature. There are also honey combs, wild flowers, birds of exquisite species that add beauty to this serene hill. The scenic beauty of the ranges and rock formations keeps a tourist transfixed. The rocks are so arranged that some are found perching so precariously atop the other, which the uneducated may feel could soon topple towards the descent. But surprisingly, these same rocks have survived thousands of years of harsh weather elements. A journey to this wonder hill takes more than two hours to reach the peak. Kagoro hill in all ramifications is a wonder to behold and a must place for visitors or tourists who desire adventure and conquest.  

In the past, life on the Kagoro hill according to the natives is so complete that the inhabitants needed not leave this protective enclave. With abundant fresh water from the rocks, the luxurious greenish all year vegetation, unbelievable fertile land and plains atop the hill and its suitability for livestock farming, Kagoro hill is a marvel to behold. Today, however modern conveniences, goods and services have led to massive relocation to the foot of the hill, the sights of rural Kagoro hill women and children trampling along the cliffs on nimble feet laden with bundles of firewood and purchases from nearby local market is commonplace on the trail.

Traditional religious belief is still extensively practiced; while the extended family system made up of clusters of related family, compounds adorn the top of the hill settlements. On the first day of January every year, the people of Kagoro those living below and on top of the hill celebrate the Afan (hunting) festival which usually attracts numerous visitors from all parts of the world, who converge at the foot of the Kagoro to witness this annual celebration of bravery. 

To ensure the development of the Kagoro hill, the Kaduna State government has undertaken to convert the hilltop into a tourist paradise and a resort offering a golf course, air strip, other sports and relaxation spots that will be the first of its kind in Africa.  

                                                                                                                                         KANGIMI DAM

The dam which is about 37 km from Kaduna town is situated along Kaduna - Jos road. The area is an attractive place for tourists and is good for picnics and general relaxation. Presently, the area has been earmarked by the Nigerian Tourism Board to build a holiday Resort Near the dam. The Dam was originally known as the Baban Rafi River. It was damed by Kaduna State Government for the purpose of water supply and irrigation activities in the State. The distance from one bank of the dam across the other is about 9 kilometres. One of the banks however is an artificial embankment built of sand and stone to create depth and pressure to facilitate speedy movement of the water. At the centre, a sluice gate ensures that the volume of water is regulated. When the tide rises up the bank, the valves of the gate are opened to discharge excess water. They are turned off when a desirable volume is attained. A channel directs the escaping rushing water into the towns. This flow is directed by turbines and the resulting surf and waves produced by the rush is delightful to watch. To further develop the area around the dam, the Kaduna State government has commenced a project that will link the area together with the adjoining Fifth Chukker recreation park, in other to add a resort and water sports facility to the complex. 

The Zaria Dam is located in one of transit routes from Kaduna through Zaria to Jos road. The Dam is built across Galma River to form a body of water about 3,000 meters wide and 24 kilometers long. The sound of the water falls at the spillway, the distinct yet unobstructive view of the town in the distance; the serenity of the water and the gentle slope of the site all add up to a most desirable location for relaxation. The damming of this former River Kubani has made has made the river so large and steep that during the rainy season, it swells as high as the bridge running across it, and temporarily cutting off the inhabitants from both sides of the bridge. It is a delightful dam as the river recedes revealing the bridge as local people walk across to meet those on the other side. This site is being earmarked by the State for its water sports activities like boating and boat regatta.   

Matsirga Waterfalls is situated in Kafanchan, about 227 kilometers south of Kaduna. The water drops 30 meters into a gorge that has been supported by the beautiful rocks. The fresh cool breeze around the area has something to offer for tourists. The proximity of the Kagoro Hills and Nok Museum provides an added advantage to tourists visiting the area.

The water of this magnificent fall have their source from springs on the Kagoro hills cascading from four different natural funnels off the sheer rock cliff from about 25 metres to form a large pool at the bottom. At the point of impact with the river, the cascading showers of the fall create a rainbow-like mist which appears and disappears mysteriously. The river formed by the fall increases with the rainy season overflowing its banks. A natural rock shelter at the river bank forms a cover and a resting place for picnicking. Like a half umbrella, it provides shed for tourists amidst the wondrous continuous water fall. A heritage resort known as Madikiya Heritage Resort is being developed by a private investor within the fall area to serve the relaxation needs of tourists and visitors. 

                                                                                             GEN. HASSAN USMAN KATSINA PARK

General Hassan Park established in 1954 as the colonial government garden serving the relaxation needs of civil servants and the West African Frontier Force of the colonial era was turned into a major tourist location by the Kaduna State government in 1998. Situated at the end of swimming pool road, Kabala east, Kaduna. The entrance point to the park is about 273 meters from Kofar Gamji. The park occupies an area of about 7000 sq. meters. It has a natural setting of trees, mango groove, Orchard and dotted small islands from river Kaduna which flows majestically behind it. The beauty of the landscape with assorted fine flowers and palm trees is further enhanced by a mixture of modern and traditional architectural designs and sculptures. The facilities found within the park include a multi-purpose theatre containing a permanent exhibition ground, art studio and gallery, a children’s amusement park, a mini zoological garden of marooned ostriches, a crocodile pond and ancient tortoise. The park is bordered by the Kaduna River for which the State government plans to develop for water sports purposes. Other attractions include an enclosed Olympic size swimming pool and an arena used for training of officers of the Nigerian Defence Academy, beautifully landscaped lawns used for social activities such as weddings and for all night parties. 


What remains of the old mud walls built by Queen Amina at the beginning of her reign in the 16th century Zaria can still be found around the city gate, as a protective structure against enemy attacks, the walls were built thick and sturdy to withstand any such eventualities. On relocating her administrative headquarters from Turunku to Zaria (which she named after her sister), she went on to develop and fortify the whole area, as befitting an emirate’s headquarters. The process of building these walls require sacrifice of a virgin boy and girl, who are buried alive within the walls, a ritual believed to make them impregnable. Though largely dilapidated, the remains of the old Zaria city walls still stand as a relic of the people’s past and their history of greatness. They are up to 10ft tall and extremely thick, enabling them to last long over many centuries.    


                                                                                                                       TRAPPCO RANCH & RESORT
Located about 24km from Kaduna town and adjacent the local airport is a ranch/resort tourist centre that contains every conceivable facility needed for a standard hospitality centre. It is broadly divided into three major sections; the hospitality, agriculture and tourism/sports sections. These are further divided into sub-sections including ; food and beverages, horse riding, poultry, pilot farming, quad bike riding, polo, golf, volley ball, football, and basket ball. Participants attend the game from all over the country. The physical facilities on Trappco Ranch include a swimming pool, bar and restaurant, picnic gardens, an artificial lake for boat rides, horse stable, children’s playground, a shopping centre, accommodation, craft centre set up by Kaduna state ministry of culture and tourism, named the culture window, as well as conference hall for seminars.

The accommodation is designed in detached single brick bungalow apartments with thatched roofing to give individual or groups who are guest a feeling of being in touch with nature. There is a spacious studio room that contains bathroom and kitchen facilities with cane chairs, wooden furniture and bed made of local craft with a terrazzo floor that expresses the traditional ingenuity of the setting, which is a part of the uniqueness of this resort.  


This is a private initiative of the 5th Chukker Group who are also in-charge of its development. This major tourist attraction centre, is specially designed for Polo games and for horse racing. Other facilities existing in this beautiful resort include, a horse paddock, children’s play ground, a bar catering for the entertainment needs of visitors and tourists particularly during the international Polo tournament held twice a year usually in January, May or December. These tournaments attract players from all parts of the world.

The most exciting part of the 5th Chukker is its location and layout with pathways lined with colourful floral patterns and of a gym for various sporting activities. Recently, the sites is experiencing further development by linking it to the adjoining Kangimi Dam to provide tourists a place of relaxation and opportunity to bask in the natural setting that makes the 5th Chukker one of the tourist wonders of the State.  

                                                                             LONG FOOT BRIDGE AT THE KAGORO DESCENT

This beautifully designed bridge was constructed in 1975, by Kaduna State government as a means of enhancing movement of Kagoro people between the mainland and the hills. It runs across the Kagoro River, a major source of water works south of Kaduna State, with modern purifying and treatment machines, reservoirs and giant pipes directing the onward flow of water. The Kagoro River is the source of the impressive waterfalls at Masirga, but at this point, it is a lot bigger, forming a pool of water at the bottom that flows onward to neither towns. Like most other water bodies, the river is a lot larger in the rainy season, overflowing its banks and the surrounding land area.    



This is the grave of a legendary giant Katagwan who believed to have lived in Kagoro about 300 years ago. According to a kagoro legend, Katagwan was so tall that could stretch out his hands from his abode at the foot of the hills and pick up a person from the village. He was loved and revered by the natives for the part he often played in helping them to defeat rivals and enemies in conflict. Ownership tussles concerning land, game or property between a kagoro native and a stranger is sure to end in favour of the kagoro native as soon as Katagwan wades in. He was also believed to be half -spirit and could appear where ever he was needed without being summoned. He lived with his three children who tended to his needs. Katagwan dug his own grave prior to his death, a 30 meter long trench, intending to bury himself out of consideration that no number of men would be able to bury him. On the day of his death he lay down in the grave and died, leaving his children and the villagers of Kagoro to do the covering. Katagwan has become more revered as time passed as different towns in the Kafanchan area lay claims to his nativity. His grave in Kagoro however rests any disputes on this score. Recently, developed as tourist monument by the Kaduna State government, the site has been fortified with stone and cement. The grave is an awesome site to behold. 


                                                                                                                      KATAGWAN’S FRIDGE

Under a magnificent rock shelter, not far from the former abode of Katagwan is a source of cold spring water, which the legendary giant was said to use as his ‘fridge’. So chilled is the spring that the air within and outside the cave remain perpetually cold (1oc). The waters of the spring are however concealed from view by large boulders so that persons wishing to get a drink must wriggle through the rock crevices, descending deep into the bowels of the earth. This makes the waters of Katagwan’s fridge very precious indeed. This site is considered sacred by the native people who would never permit a stranger access to the spring without permission and guidance.      


Turunku, a town in Igabi Local Government Area of central Kaduna was the former headquaters of the Zazzau Emirate prior to the reign of Queen Amina who relocated it to the area which she named Zaria after her sister. Bakwa Turunku is the father of Queen Amina and her sister Zaria. He ruled the Zazzau Emirates from Turunku until his death in the early 16th century at which Amina succeeded him. A memorial has been erected on his burial place making it a historical monument. Built of marble and stone, the monument has an air of reverence and awe as befitting such important historical personality. 



                                                                                                           PIXIE DIXIE AMUSEMENT PARK

This Park located a short distance governor's office is one of the recreational family and children centres dotting the State. it houses various amusement facilities for children. There is arena for bumper car rides which is electrically powered. There is a merry go-round toy horses, a transit train, a toy aerodrome, artificial swan lake, a panoramic and the bouncing castles. A fully equipped Conference hall with 800 sitting capacity augments the centre. This is in addition to a bar and relaxation spot, a beautifully designed landscape garden doted with sculptures to keep a tourist glued on the spot.


At the top of Tandama hill in Turunku is an interesting rock formation on which Queen Amina’s castle still stands to this day. It was said that Amina built herself a throne hewn out of the rock by slaves. This throne is seen over looking the whole Turunku town making it possible for her to watch anyone approaching her domain. On another rock off the right is the famous Amina well bored out of the sheer ingenuity, which supplied her with spring water. This well according to the local people was dug by slaves who used implements to break the hard rock under the directive of the Queen. 

Within the vicinity is the round stone used by Amina as a bed and pillow also fashioned with hewed rock. A visit to this historic site will reveal the creative ingenuity of the people of Turunku who were formerly residing on top of the hill before their later movement to the bottom of the hill. 

Queen Amina's well atop Tandama hill    Queen Amina's Chair overlooking Turunku town