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The home of hospitality as it is fashionably called, Katsina State was carved out of the old Kaduna State on Wednesday, 27th September 1989 by the then military Head of State, Maj. General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), GCON. Katsina is primarily a Hausa-Fulani state and it comprises of two emirates; the Daura and the Katsina Emirate. Clans between the prince of Baghdad Bayajidda and Daurama gave rise to the originators of Daura, Katsina, Kano, Zaria, Rano, Biram, and Gobir. This article seeks to tell you some of the amazing places to visit in Katsina State.
Katsina like any other state has so many tourist attractions whose origin can be traced back to hundreds of years. Some of these tourist attractions are the Katsina Emir’s palace, Daura Emir’s palace, Kusugu Well, Old KTC, Gobarau minaret, National museum, Katsina city gates, and so on. Below are some 6 places to visit in Katsina:
Places to Visit in Katsina State
1. Katsina Emir’s Palace
The Katsina Royal Palace also known as ‘Gidan Korau’ is one of the lovely places to visit in Katsina. It is a huge complex located in the centre of the historic city. It is a masterwork of Hausa architecture which serves as a symbol of the culture, history, and traditions of the Katsina people.
According to historical account, the palace was built in 1348 AD by Muhammadu Korau, who is believed to have been the first Muslim emir of Katsina. This explains why it is traditionally known as ‘Gidan Korau’ (House of Korau). It is one of the oldest and among the first generation palaces, along with Daura, Kano, and Zazzau (Zaria).
The palace’s compound is divided into three sections; the living quarters of the emir and his family which is called ‘Soro’ and ‘Barga’, the yard where the emir’s stable is located, where his servants and slaves also live. More so, there is also a place called ‘Gidan Ganye’; this is where the royal garden and the emir’s guest house are located.
The main gate leads to ‘Kofar Soro’, while the gate at the backyard is called ‘Kofar Bai’ (which is now gone). The emir’s residential quarter in the middle of the palace is a large compound built in traditional architectural style.
The palace’s buildings are made of conical-shaped and sun-dried clay bricks (known in Hausa as tubali), mud, and local rafters known as ‘azara’. The wall of the house is about 90 centimetres at the base and is plastered with high-quality clay mixed with cow dung and grass.
There also exists in the stunning palace, a mosque, a clinic, and a children’s playground. Attached to the ‘Babban Zaure’ reception are, is the emir’s inner compartment in which he sits with his senior councillors to receive state officials and other prominent people. At the northwest end of the compound is the old council chamber (tsohuwar majalisa), which was built by Emir Dikko who reigned from 1906 to 1944.
Bordering this building to the south is the new council chambers (sabuwar majalisa) which was built by Emir Usman Nagogo (1944-1951). The elegant emir’s palace is not only an outstanding piece of architecture that enchants tourists, but also a symbol of Islamic authority, a heritage of traditional Hausa architecture, and an enduring monument of organized society.
2. Emir of Daura’s Palace
The Emir of Daura’s palace as one of the places to visit in Katsina State is a beautiful structure located at the centre of the town, built by Magajiya Daurama shortly after moving the capital of the kingdom from ‘Tsohon Birni (Old City) to the present day Daura city.
The palace was constructed in the typical Hausa architecture, using sun-baked bricks, mud, local rafters, and ‘Makuba’, a local colourant.
The Palace also contains a large ‘zaure’ which is the main entrance and several inner chambers.
3. Kusugu Well Daura
The mythical Kusugu well in which a serpent called Sarki was slain by Abu Yazid Bin Abdullahi, popularly known as Bayajidda, is also one of the places to visit in Katsina as it serves as the major tourist attraction in Daura town.
During the reign of Queen Daurama of Daura, the major source of water for Daura residents was the Kusugu well. But people were only allowed to fetch water once a week, that is on Friday of every week because of a mythical snake that lives inside the well.
People continue to starve until one day when a person who was believed to be a Baghdadi prince, who goes by the name Abu Yazid Bin Abdullahi while traversing African countries arrived at Daura. After lodging in the house of one old woman, he requested water, but was not given enough water to satiate his thirst and was also told that there is no more to give him due to the presence of a snake in the well that obstructs residents from fetching water unless on Fridays.
Upon hearing that, Bayajidda then requested to be shown the well so that he can go and fetch the water by himself. He was cautioned about the tricky snake but did not heed the warning as he went ahead to the well and luckily, he slew the snake after a fight.
The well from time past has become a tourist site in the Daura Kingdom and the sword that was used to kill the formidable snake is in the custody of the Emir of Daura His Highness. Both the well and the sword can still be seen by tourists today.
4. Gobarau Minaret
The Famous Gobarau Minaret which is also known in Hausa as ‘Hasumiyya’, was according to historical findings, constructed over 600 years ago during the reign of the first Muslim Emir of Katsina, Sarki Muhammadu Korau (1398-1408 AD) and still standing. During his time, the minaret serves as the central mosque of Katsina town. It is believed to be one of the largest ancient edifices in West Africa.
The Gobarau Minaret is 50 feet or a 15-meter minaret located in the centre of Katsina city. As an early representation of Muslim architecture in Katsina, the tower has become a symbol of the city.
It is the first tallest building built in the ancient city of Katsina, to serve the function of a surveillance tower for spotting enemy invaders as they approached the city during communal war inherent in that era.
The Minaret which according to Katsina state history and culture bureau initially stood at 122m i.e. 400ft before the main body of the tower collapsed. So it is therefore then reduced to stand at the present height of 17.11m with a base of approximately 83.36sqm.
The building was designed and built to reflect the Timbuktu type of architecture depicting the civilization and craftsmanship of the 14th-century inhabitants. Originally built as the central Mosque of Katsina town, it was also later used as a school. By the beginning of the 16th century, Katsina had become a very important commercial and academic center in Hausaland, and Gobarau mosque had grown into a famed institution of higher Islamic education.
Gobarau continued to be Katsina’s Central mosque until the beginning of the 19th century AD when Sarkin Katsina Ummarun Dallaji (1805-1835) built a new mosque, which was later demolished by Muhammadu Dikko (1906–1944), who built the famous Masallacin Dutsi, which is still used up to this day.
5. Katsina City Gates
Constructed about 900 years ago during the reign of King Murabus, the Katsina city wall as one of the places to visit in Katsina State encircles the city and has several different gates for passage. The ancient gates of the city walls continue to amuse visitors to the town and are something that faraway tourists have heard about and wish to see.
Some of these gates are Kofar Kaura (kofa means gate), Kofar Sauri, Kofar Marusa, Kofar Durbi, Kofar Kwaya et cetera.
All the above-mentioned places are amazing places to visit in Katsina State you should at least once visit as a Northern Nigeria.
Tell me in the comments section below which you would love to visit soon. Thank you.
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Nicely written. Will definitely visit these places upon visiting Katsina.