Hundreds of years before British colonists set foot in Nigeria, Kano, now one of the most populated cities in West Africa, was surrounded by the Ancient Kano City Walls. A brown-mud wall standing thirty to fifty feet high and measuring 40 feet thick to protect it from outside invasion.
- The walls surrounded the city, which at the time was home to an estimated 50,000 people, and were used to monitor all entry and exit. The city was a center for Islamic studies and a thriving hub with abundant water and iron deposits at the time, so the leadership took extra security precautions.
- The walls were constructed between 1095 and 1134 and completed in the middle of the 14th century by Sarki Gijimasu, the third king of the Kingdom of Kano. The then General-Governor of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, Fredrick Lugard, wrote in a report about the Kano Walls that he had “never seen anything like it in Africa.”
Although the city has long taken on a modern look, relics of its past as a commercial hub during trans-Saharan trade remain. The remnants and associated sites of the walls are places of spiritual, historical, and cultural significance to the Kano people.
- The Ancient Kano City Walls are now major tourist attractions, which explains why the state government and the National Commission of Museums and Monuments are working to make them a World Heritage Site.
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