Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cultural Lagos.

Oba's Palace (IGA IDUNGARAN):

This magnificent building, located on Upper King Street, North of Lagos Island, was constructed over 300 years ago and has subsequently been renovated and expanded in stages. It is the official residence of the Oba of Lagos. The principal portion consists of the segment built by the Portuguese in 1705. This was during the reign of Oba Akinsemoyin. Most of the construction materials were brought in form Portugal. The most recent renovation was undertaken in 1960, under the reign of Oba Adele II, with the addition of a new wing to the palace. The present ruler, King Oba Oyekan II, was crowned in 1965 and is the 18 th Oba of Lagos. Travelers who wish to tour the palace can apply for permission to do so from the Secretary of the Oba of Lagos.

Balogun Oshodi Tapa Monument:

The Oshodi Tapa family constructed this imposing edifice in 1968 as a monument to the memory of the renowned warlord, Chief Balogun Oshodi Tapa, who died in 1868. He was an ardent supporter of Oba Kosoko. The structure has been erected over his grave.

Taiwo Olowo's Monument:

Another attractive monument is the building over the tomb of Chief Daniel Conrad Taiwo, who died in 1901. The Chief arrived in Lagos in 1848 and rose from humble origins, as a basket maker's apprentice, to become an eminent personality in the political circles of the city. The building is on Broad Street in the central part of the city, neatly packed between the Mandilas House and the Continental House. It contains a copper bust of the Chief, which is reportedly made from melted down pennies.

Water House:

This fine example of Brazilian architecture is one of the oldest of its kind in Lagos. It is located 12, Kakawa Street, within the confines of the “crown land” that was bestowed to Hijinio Pinto Da-Fonsacca in 1864. It was shortly after this that construction of the house was begun by Joa Esan Da Rocha, who became prominent for being one of the first persons to lead free slaves back from Brazil. It gained the name of ‘Water House” when the owner started selling drinking water to the local residents. A new wing was added in 1967 by converting a part of an old building that was previously used as a courtyard for constables. But the renovation has not disturbed the original style of the building, which has been declared a National Monument. At present the building is used for commercial as well as residential purposes.

Shitta Mosque, Martins Street:

This magnificent Mosque was designed and constructed by the Brazilian, Senor Joas Baptista Da Costa, in 1892. The then Governor of Lagos, Carter, presided over the official inauguration in 1894. A reputed and wealthy Muslim merchant from Sierra Leone, Mohammed Shitta Bey, provided the entire amount of three thousand pounds required for the construction and hence it is named after him. The architecture is typically Brazilian, with traceries on its canopy and floral motifs on the pinnacles – quite similar to those on the Taiwo Olowo's monument. The Mosque has been well maintained and still retains its perfect condition.

Cuban Lodge:

This interesting structure, at 40, Odunlami Street, is a combination of British and Brazilian architectural styles – a typical English cottage with a typical Brazilian flavor! While the owner (Hilario Campos) was a liberated Brazilian slave, and the craftsman (A. A. Aka) was a Brazilian, the architect who designed and built it (Christopher Thomas) was British. Materials used in its construction were imported from Britain. The building was completed in 1931 and has been maintained in excellent condition by its present owner, Mrs. A. A. Gooding, who is the daughter of Campos. Even the surrounding compound is kept neat and clean.

National Assembly:

With the shifting of the Federal Capital to Abuja, this landmark structure will face a change in functions. It had already undergone a period of idleness when the Military Administration governed the nation.

Tafawa Balewa Square:

The square was built in honor of the first Prime Minister of the country and is located just next to the National Assembly. It was constructed in 1972 over the area that was previously the track for horse racing. With a capacity to accommodate over 50,000 persons all major national functions – like Independence Day and October first – are held here, as well as other events like musical jamborees and religious gatherings. Facilities at the square include a shopping center, offices of Travel Agencies for major Airlines, restaurants, car parking, etc.

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