Top 5 Must Do's in Benin

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Here are some highlights of Benin City Must Do’s, with much to do in the vibrant city of Benin.

Visit the Benin City National Museum

The Benin City National Museum is a large building located near the Oba’s Palace. This is where tourists can find a good introduction into the history and heritage of Benin City as well as in depth information about the progress and way of life in the place. Nothing beats the streets in understanding the way the people work here, of course, but the Museum is a good place to start.

Walk around the Oba’s Palace

Benin is home to one of the world’s longest sustaining monarchies, and Benin City is precisely the home of the palace housing the royal family. There is no longer a country known as Benin Kingdom, and Benin City itself is located in Nigeria, but the Oba remains the traditional and ceremonial king of the city. The Oba himself lives in Benin City, but his family is scattered across Africa and Europe. The palace itself is largely a museum with artifacts and relics from the past, and offers tourists a good gateway into the culture and history of the city.

Stroll along Gun Street

Benin is famous for its bronze and metal castings, and this is the place where it all began. Gun Street began as a single shop selling metal and bronze works, but quickly expanded into a street specializing in the art form. Traditionally, the metal works were used only in important festivals and celebrations, and only used frequently by the royal family. However, this has now become a popular art form within homes, and in many Benin homes, small bronze ornaments can be found around. Gun Street is the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs to take home, to give your house that wonderful tribal flavor.

See the Benin Moats

The Benin Moats are a little known but amazing structure that forms an important part of the cultural history of Benin. Built in the ancient times by the warriors of the Edo people (the native tribe of Benin), the moats are deep structures that resemble trenches in the modern world. They serve the same purpose of defending Benin against external attackers – but differ in that they stretch up to 6,500 square km in area. Unfortunately, many of these moats are very poorly maintained and the government lacks funds to keep them, and many have disappeared.

Taste the Local Cuisine

There are a few things to try in Benin, with a distinctive local flavor to the food compared to the rest of Nigeria. Taste the Suya, a baked meat with a hint of sweetness, together with the traditional food of cassava and yams. Be sure also to try the palm wine – fresh from the local tappers. Bottled ones are also available, but always pick the fresh one if that is available.

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