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

Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove - Nigeria

Map showing the location of Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove UNESCO world heritage site (Nigeria)

Website Category: Traditional Cultural Landscapes  

Area: 0.8 km2 

Inscribed: 2005

Criteria: (ii)  interchange of values (iii)  cultural tradition (vi)  association with belief system 

Location and Values:  The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove is located on the outskirts of Osogbo, a city of some 2 million people in south-western Nigeria. It is one of the last remaining remnants of tropical high forest in southern Nigeria, and perhaps the last example of the once widespread practice amongst the Yoruba people of maintaining an area of intact forest for ritual purposes close to every settlement.  Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove covers an area of 75 hectares and is regarded as the abode of the Yoruba goddess of fertility, Osun.  The natural forest is dissected by the Osun River and scattered with shrines and effigies, connected by ritual paths. It has five main divisions, devoted to different Yoruba deities, and nine specific worship points along the river.

Slideshow of the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove:  This short slideshow features a collection of photos provided by Jill Craig.  They show the principal features of the sacred grove, especially some of the worship points at the river bank.  Some of the modern sculptures of local artists are also shown.

Slideshow of the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove:

Google Earth View:  To view satellite imagery of Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove 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. The imagery of the sacred grove and nearby city is remarkably sharp, and you can get a real sense of the development pressures that exist in locations like this, which have generally resulted in the destruction of such places elsewhere.

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

Other Links:     Official UNESCO Site Details

Shrines and effigies are scattered throughout the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove UNESCO world heritage site (Nigeria) Tropical rainforest biodiversity is protected within the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove UNESCO world heritage site (Nigeria) Yoruba people traditionally use specific worship points along the Osun River in the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove UNESCO world heritage site (Nigeria) Areas of sacred forest have traditionally been maintained for ritual purposes by many West African communities, but few now remain (Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove UNESCO world heritage site, Nigeria)




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