SUKUR UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
If you are looking for a real adventure in a very challenging but natural setting in Nigeria, bet you have one that will indulge and challenge your sense of adventure. The Sukur Cultural Landscape with its palace, terraced fields with ritual features and villages whose unchanged settings have survived for many centuries, will engaged your strong leisure spirit in the northern Mandara Mountains in Adamawa State.
From the Hidi’s Palace (ruined house complex of the chief), natural paved walkways, domesticated landscape with extensive terraces (for agricultural use and spiritual significance) and domestic architecture in the villages (granite and dry-stone), you will go beyond sightseeing, relishing in the freshness of nature around, to burning unnecessary calories.
Sure, the sight of the traditional cemeteries in the hills will make you desire to be buried in its serenity and exclusivity. Water from the wells will quench your thirst after walking through the vast stretch of the plain.
The iron-smelting furnaces and ceramics that have elements of traditional and contemporary looks tell more of the technology that long existed in Africa, and should be developed further and preserved for advancement and posterity.
The shrines are not awful, but depict the African people’s traditional belief and culture.
Of course, these age-long and preserved rouged features, beauty and interest of cultural landscapes produced by centuries of montagnard effort caught the attention of United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO), which in 1999, listed Sukur as Nigeria’s first World Heritage Site.
Beyond these unique features, a dense network of ways – hiking trails
already and often superbly constructed – remains to be discovered and
engages UNESCO’s interest and expertise further.
The justification for UNESCO listing includes Sukur’s exceptional landscape that graphically illustrates a form of land-use that marks a critical stage in human settlement, and its relationship with its environment, having survived and unchanged for many centuries, and continues to do so at a period when this form of traditional human settlement is under threat in many parts of the world. The world body sees the cultural landscape of Sukur as an eloquent testimony to a strong and continuing cultural tradition that has endured for many centuries.
On your first visit, you climb the mountain by the northern paved way, see the plateau in various seasons, meet Sukur locals going about their business or relaxing, and return by a different route to Mefir Suku, the village on the plain that holds a market visited by both Sukur and Margi people every Tuesday.
Your visit cannot be complete without a visit to the ancient Stone Palace of the Xidi. There you will be thrilled by the pictorial and oral history of the people, the craft, culture, fight against colonialism and their dance.
You will also appreciate the cultural landscape as it changes through the seasons, and make several Sakun acquaintances.