One of Africa’s most captivating destinations, Osogbo town and capital, Osun state, southwestern Nigeria exudes infinite cultural energy and offers huge excitement for travelers with budgets large and small.
Osogbo’s attractions extend from enchanting, frozen-in-time historical structures to elaborate trado-religious festivals. In addition, the town vaunts a great collection of art as its residents are known to be very creative. The city has produced very many internationally renowned artists; including Nike Arts, Twin Seven Seven, Jimoh Braimoh and others.
It’s most famous celebration, the Osun Osogbo Cultural Festival -an annual event which takes place between August and September, keeps the town alive with hip-shaking cultural dances, dazzling and colorful carnivals, processions, art exhibitions and ebullient joie de vivre.
The event gives residents and tourists the opportunity to recreate socially, traditionally, and economically as they re-enact renowned, age-long spiritual and communal feasts for two weeks. The festival is certainly a huge part of the Osogbo experience, but no less entrancing is the prospect of wandering through the narrow, winding streets of the old city, exploring a traditional market or discovering the Sacred Grove of Osun the river goddess, while touring the city. Jovago.com, Africa’s largest hotel booking portal presents Osogbo, a town of magical allure.
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The Sacred Grove of Osun
The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, a forested area with shrines and sanctuaries honoring Osun and other deities, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. It is the largest and perhaps the only remaining example of a once widespread phenomenon that used to characterise every Yoruba settlement. It now represents a reflection of Yoruba cosmology.
Museum of Arts
One of the best museum of arts in Nigeria with regards to it relevance to the Yoruba cultural heritage, the Osogbo Museum of Arts showcases the creative values of its people with mediums ranging from calabash and wood carving, metal work, cloth weaving, tie-dye e.t.c.
Suzanne Wenger House and Centre
The Susan Wenger house remains one of the few architectural landmarks in the city. Originally inhabited by Suzanne Wenger – an Australian artist turned Yoruba priestess, popularly called Adunni Olorisa and one of the people that designed some of the art edifice found in Osun groove – it is covered with relief interwoven human and animal form and stands a reflection of Brazilian style building that mirrors some phases of Nigerian architectural past. The center houses over 400 works of art within the building, and a shop that exhibits as well as sells great pieces by some of the town’s leading curators, past and present.
Major shops and markets stay open quite late in the evening. The famous Juju andMosk Market specializes in art, ceramics, soapstone carvings,musical instruments and a myriad of traditional accessories.
There are three other ultra modern markets: Ayegbaju and Aje international markets, as well as a mid-regional trade zone for the entire South West located at Dagbolu. For tourists who do not want to explore the local markets, there are shopping centers and malls around town, including Mayfair shopping center and Brainfield shopping malls.Credit cards are accepted in certain malls and haggling is generally accepted for cash purchases.
It’s hard to generalize about Osogbo food, largely because there is no single local cuisine but numerous very distinct ones including Amala with gbegiri and ewedu, Eko and many more. Restaurants are ubiquitous, portions are very large and prices extremely affordable. There are no licensing laws, so you can get a drink around town at any time of the day or night.
From battered, windowless cells to sumptuous guesthouses, accommodation here covers a wide range; from hostels and basic lodgings clustered around bus stations to luxury resort hotels.
Nearly every guesthouse and hostel serves basic local cuisines. You can find places to sleep for as little as N900 a night (Wazobia Hotel), but, more realistically, a clean double room with standard options will cost you N5,000 and above. Visit Jovago.com for amazing discount deals on bookings in this city.
Osogbo, sometimes called “Ilu Aro” (home of dyeing), is a major tie and dye center in the country.
Nkem Ndem Vivienne,
Travel/Technology Writer, Jovago.
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