• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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A city atop the hills

A city atop the hills

If you are a lover of serenity, awesome landscape and metropolis fun, one Nigerian city has it all.  Of the five eastern states in Nigeria, Enugu State seems to be the most endowed in terms of tourist attractions. The principal town of the former capital of the Eastern Region and the old Anambra State nicknamed ‘Coal City’ is really a tourist haven.

It is adorned with a vast and appealing landscape made up of undulating hills, lush green vegetation, highlands and lowlands. Adorn with same captivating scenery like Abuja the Federal Capital, Enugu is a more delight to visitors and lovers of nature because of the lush vegetation complementing its great undulating landscape.

In reference to its glorious past as a major mining centre, the city usually referred to as ‘the Coal City’ and was once an economic hub when the coal business was still flourishing. The relics of the old coal trade that are now scattered all over the city are worth seeing, especially during a visit to the Onyeama Coal Mine and the Okpara Coal Mine, and the city has two distinct coal mining enclaves.

Going by history, Enugu was and is still the home of the Igbos. Till date, it remains a melting pot for the people who are reputed for travelling vast and wide and is succour for those among them that need the serene and calm environment of the city for holiday.

One of the main indigenous people of the city is the Enugwu Ngwo people, who live on the hilltop with their farm lands sprawling all over the valley. The discovery of coal deposits in Enugu gave rise to settlements around the foot of the hills and as the population grew, the city expanded into the areas of other indigenous inhabitants. The city was called Enugwu Ngwo before it was changed to just Enugu.

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However, citizens who take delight in being associated with the pseudonym of “the Coal City state,” are waiting anxiously to fete visitors to Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, one of the venues for the FIFA Under 17 World Cup, with enough of their hospitality.

The art and culture of the people will be generously in display and as well as their proclivity in metal work, wood carving, and cloth as well as mat weaving. There would be a lot of traditional entertainment on display during the world tournament. During this period, there would be the colourful Mwanwu (masquerade) on display.

The Mwanwu display is one of the most important and prevalent cultural entertainment as it cuts across all the states and towns in the eastern part of the country.

However, that of Enugu is highly revered because of its unique theatrics, puppetry, pomp, artistry and massive nature.

There are pockets of art shops and malls where many of these art works are on display. Even a visit to some of the traditional homes could reveal a lot about the art and culture of this people.

A visit to the city will mean well for a visitor because of the good number of attractions that make sight-seeing appealing.

Two of such attractions are the Onyeama and Okpara coal mines, where coal used to be the major product of the city, was mined. It is a symbol of the city that has however been abandoned for several years.

The mines proudly display relics of the mining era and the technology of that time. The National Museum located in the city also offers a glimpse into the art and cultural heritage of the people.

Enugu is home to many lakes, and a visit to the Iheneke Lake, a tropical lake with maximum density during the warmest season, will worth a tourist’s while. During the rainy season, the lake cools and then cools further as harmattan period advances; a lovely place to rest and have relaxation.

But the mystery of Ogbeluke Lake will intrigue you because it is a mysterious lake of sorts. As small as it looks, its water level remains constant throughout the year and it’s a home to crocodiles and many other water creatures.

You will, however, experience premium fun at the Nike Lake and Resorts, the biggest of the lakes in the city. The natural ambiance of the lake, the water habitats, boating activities and beautiful renditions of wild birds will thrill your sense of leisure. The 240-room resort is a lovely place for relaxation with friends and family. Its closeness to hotels makes it an ideal place to go.

Ogelube Lake is yet another, a tropical lake having desmids dominated phytoplankton with maximum density during the warmest season. During the rainy season, the lake cools, phytoplankton declines and dominance shifts to algae other than desmids.

For a closer communion with nature, a warm swim at Awhum Waterfall will ever refresh your hot body.

The waterfall stands over 30 metres high. Located in Enugu city, it has a cave just by the fall. It is believed by the locals that the water of this fall has cleansing powers that could be used to keep away satanic forces.

The list of attractions is endless.

From Ezeagu Tourist Complex, Opi Lakes Complex, situated outside the city with lots of natural attractions such as sport fishing, boat cruises, picnics, to Ugwueme, Udi hills: a good locations for mountaineering, Michael Okpara Square, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments Complex, the Zoological Gardens and the Arts gallery at the Institute of Management and Technology, there are enough for the budding visitor.

Enugu new has an international airport from where Ethiopian Airways connect its Eastern passengers to other parts of the world. There are various airlines operating domestic flights to; Abuja, Lagos, Owerri, and Port Harcourt.

Before you leave, try the native delicacies such as ‘Okpa,’ ‘Ofe Agwu,’ Nsala, among others. They will delight your culinary taste no matter sophisticated your taste is.

OBINNA EMELIKE