The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Sukur Cultural Landscape - Nigeria

Map showing the location of Sukur Cultural Landscape UNESCO world heritage site in the Mandara Mountains near Maidaguri (Nigeria)

Website Category: Traditional Cultural Landscapes  

Area: unknown 

Inscribed: 1999

Criteria: (iii) cultural tradition (v)  interaction with the environment (vi)  association with belief system

Location and Values:  Sukur cultural landscape is located about 120 km south of Maidaguri in northeast Nigeria, in the Mandara Mountains along the Cameroon border.  It is as remote as any place in Nigeria, a beautiful settlement of perhaps 2,000 people high in the mountains with no direct vehicular access.  The area has been under essentially the same form of land management for at least 400 years, under the Dur dynasty of chiefs.  Local granite has been used to build terraced fields (which are invested with a spiritual significance with sacred trees and ritual sites), and defensive dry stone walls around homesteads. The area has a long tradition of iron smelting, and village architecture reflects the prevailing social hierarchy, the most prominent set of buildings being the Hidi (chief’s) Palace located on a hilltop overlooking the rest of the village. 

Slideshow of the Sukur Cultural Landscape:  The slideshow features photos kindly provided by Heike Hoyer and Jonathan Barrow showing the long hike into this remote corner of Nigeria and the main features of the landscape and buildings.  Houses are clustered tightly together with each group surrounded by a high defensive dry-stone wall.  From a distance these clusters of houses blend into the landscape so perfectly that they can hardly be distinguished amongst the massive granite boulders and scattered trees.  Some of the Sukur village architecture is shown, involving only natural locally-available materials.  The massive stone entrance to the Hidi's Palace is featured, as well as a traditional Initiation Room.

Slideshow of the Sukur Cultural Landscape:

Google Earth View:  To view satellite imagery of the Sukur cultural landscape on Google Earth, click here. This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing. You can learn an enormous amount from this kind of ‘bird’s eye view’, so take a few minutes to explore the surroundings by panning in and out, and looking to left and right at high resolution.  The terraced fields are clearly visible in this satellite view, as are the circular enclosures of the homesteads and the individual thatched houses.

Links to other traditional cultural landscapes:  Konso  I  Kaya Forests  I  Djenne Bandiagara  I  Osun-Osogbo  I  Saloum Delta  I  Mapungubwe  I  Richtersveld  I  Koutammakou  I  Matobo Hills

Other Links:     Official UNESCO Site Details

Behind a walled enclosure, a homestead in the Sukur Cultural Landscape UNESCO world heritage site in the Mandara Mountains near Maidaguri (Nigeria)View of the rocky hillsides of the Sukur Cultural Landscape UNESCO world heritage site in the Mandara Mountains near Maidaguri (Nigeria)Homesteads are typically built behind a high stone enclosure wall in the Sukur Cultural Landscape UNESCO world heritage site in the Mandara Mountains near Maidaguri (Nigeria)Local residents are always delighted to welcome visitors to the Sukur Cultural Landscape UNESCO world heritage site in the Mandara Mountains near Maidaguri (Nigeria)

 

 

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