TRAVEL GUIDE: Exploring KATSINA Town
I set out for Katsina from Kaduna. I left Kaduna the day before Sallah and I have to say that was a wrong move. I got to the garage and there was this huge Crowd of people but there was no free bus, the passengers far outweigh the buses.
My friend interacted with one of the park guide and ask him to get a cab to take me to Katsina. I had to charter a cab to take me to Katsina. When traveling please be aware of the holidays, do make sure it is not a big holiday season.
I finally got into town and met with a friend of a friend who lives in Katsina. He was quite calm, and we went hotel hunting, I finally got one and I settled in. The following morning, armed with my list of places to visit, I asked for a cab. I got a good driver that was patient, speaks English and Hausa which was really cool. We set out on our adventure for the day.
The day trip was divided into two, Katsina and Daura. These are places you need to visit when you are in Katsina.
KATSINA CITY GATES: There are
seven city gates in Katsina. Security is the most important function of
the wall in the city, especially in areas where there are rich mineral
deposits. The pattern of the walls are same throughout the Hausaland,
mud and burnt bricks with water obtained from nearby streams were used
for constructing the walls.
As modernization became the IN thing, the wallls were rebuilt with bricks and concretes except for one which is still in mud shape.
The gates are namely, Kofar Durbi, Kofar Marusa, Kofar Guga, Kofar Kwaya, Kofar Sauri, Kofar Kaura and monumental gate called Kofar ‘Yandaka where Sir Fredrick Lord Luggard the then Governor–General of Nigeria entered Katsina through in the year 1903.
GOBARAU MINARET: The minaret is believed to have been built during the tenure of King Muhammadu Korau who reigned between 1348-1398(i.e.600yrs ago). The minaret was built by the local craftsmen using mainly sun-baked clay and mud.
Gobarau Minaret used to be the highest building in the ancient city of Katsina and environs. Beside being the first central mosque, it also served as a surveillance tower for sighting enemy invaders as they approach Katsina during the communal wars.The minaret is preserved as a national monument and tourist attraction site.
OLD KATSINA’S TEACHER’S COLLEGE: Built in 1921 with red-baked city mud and clay, this is the oldest teachers training college in the northern part of Nigeria. This college went on to have many names. The initial intake was said to be 50 students.
In 1922 the college was moved to Zaria and again renamed Government Secondary School, Zaria. In January 1949, the name was changed to Government College, Zaria and later Barewa College, Zaria.
The college has produced prominent Nigerians like the late Prime Minister, Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Late Premier of Northern Nigeria Alhaji Sir, Ahmadu Bello as well as many others.
On April 23, 1959 the college building was declared a Historic monument. This building is now Home to the National Museum, Katsina. Opposite it is an extension of the college and on the gate you will find the inscription BOBA, which stands for Barewa Old Boys Association.
The name BAREWA, which was adopted in 1971, evolved from its symbol, signifying progress in the swift movement of the gazelle. This came after the emergence of six State Governments in the former Northern region some of which began to establish their own Government Colleges.
These two buildings are architectural piece. The old red brick is still maintained, there is a gate with a step where one can view the rooftop of the buildings and the environs.
Some of the BOBA building needs renovation but they still maintained the initial structure.
NATIONAL MUSEUM: The national museum is one of the biggest museum in the North with 10 exhibitions going on when I went. It holds a lot of history of the Hausa-Fulani heritage, an ethnographic section which is dedicated to the people and culture, a whole section to the Dynasty of the State. This is a must visit place when one is in Katsina.
EMIR’S PALACE: This place was busy and I could not go in when we went there for last minute preparation for Sallah which was the following day was going on. Also the Emir was holding session with different people.
The gate has the Arewa symbol on it with a beautiful upstairs view which faced an open field. The open field is where the Durbar procession on Sallah day takes place.
Sallah is from two to five days in the North, depending on the town and the Emirate.
Follow the blog for stories on Daura, the Dynasty and the Fura and Nunu experience.