UNESCO WHS Application for Okre Indanre, Ondo State, Nigeria

UNESCO WHS Application for Okre Indanre Ancient Mountain City

June 2013 - Commissioned by the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Ondo State, Nigeria to research, plan and deliver a UNESCO World Heritage Site application for the Oke-Idanre heritage landscape and an interpretive mater plan for the site.

Scope of work includes: assessment and evaluation of the Oke-Idanre heritage landscape, the Oke-Idanre heritage landscape, consultation with the Royal Family, key stakeholders, local community, NGO’s and Government ministries. We also developed a outline visitor engagement strategy and interpretation plan covering onsite exhibits, tour guiding and development of a new visitor centre and hostel.

Oke Idanre hill consists of high plain with spectacular valleys interspersed with inselbergs of about 3,000 ft above sea level. Its physical attributes include Owa's Palace, Shrines, Old Court, Belfry, Agbooogun foot print, thunder water (Omi Aopara) and burial mounds and grounds.

It also has diverse and variegated eco-systems of flora and fauna. Oke Idanre contains very important bio-physical and land form features whose interaction with the physical features created an enduring cultural landscape within the setting.

Idanre hill is one of the most awesome and beautiful natural landscapes in Ondo State and Nigeria. Added to its beauty which fires human curiosity is the fact that the entire people of Idanre lived on these boulders for almost a millennium.

Since emigration down hill in 1923, the topography, vegetation as well as the fauna and floral life have remained undistributed. However the festivals provides occasions for reconciliation of the low-landers and their natural environments as well as reenactments or .historical episodes in local Idanre history and its wider Yoruba ideology, mythology and confederacy.

There is the Ogun festival, which is partly celebrated on top of the hills during October and Ije festival, which spread over seven days.
Apart from the festivals, which make the site a living tradition, the flora and fauna of the hills are also unique. There is a special species of tailless animal called Hyrax that lives on the rocks which because of hunting are becoming extinct and there are special monkeys sported near Orosun hills.

The hill is also plays host to a group of scientists and field researchers. The site is home to a group of bats and the people hold a unique festival of bats every year. The hill is being used by filmmakers as location for many of their films. In addition, the one and only Noble Prize Winner for Literature in Africa Professor Wole Soyinka wrote his longest poem titled "Idanre and other Poems".Most settlements in Nigeria have, by nature and tradition, been around or attached to groves and hills. Majority of these groves and hills have either been abandoned or are now limited to very small areas. Idanre hill, however, like Dala hill in Kano North West Nigeria has retained its qualities as the central moderating influence of the settlement pattern of Idanre people. Like Dala hill which started as an iron ore prospecting settlement and provided the foundation for the growth of Kano city, Idanre hill forms the nucleus for the peopling Idanre .