Oba of Benin Palace

What makes the Oba of Benin Royal Palace unique

The Oba of Benin’s Palace is located in the heart of Benin’s ancient city. It was built by Oba Ewedo, who reigned the ancient Benin Kingdom between 1255 AD and 1280 AD. Oba Eweka II (1914-1922)rebuilt it after the original structure was destroyed during the War of the British of 1897. 

The vast palace complex of the Oba is the administrative and religious center of the Benin Kingdom. It has stood in the same spot in Benin City for at least 700 years, though its size has changed over time. The palace is notable for construction innovations throughout its history. 

Oba Esigie’s 16th-century installation of a shingled roof, and Oba Ovoranmwen’s late 19th-century new use of corrugated metal sheeting for the same reason, or his mirrored bedroom ceiling, were all developments that began with the palace.

The earliest known account of the impressive complex was recorded by Dutch geographer Olfert Dapper, based on 17th-century Dutch travelers’ reports. Dapper said of the Oba of Benin’s Palace, “It is divided into many magnificent palaces, houses, and apartments of the courtiers, and comprises beautiful and long square galleries…on which are engraved the pictures of their war exploits and battles.”

Today the Royal Palace of the Oba of Benin is dedicated to celebrating and preserving Benin’s rich culture. It is a holy place because it has housed a long line of divine rulers. 

From there, the Oba oversees the kingdom’s affairs with the assistance of the chiefs, religious specialists, court officials, and attendants. It is the most prestigious site in Benin and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Benin City, Edo State. The palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

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