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Founded in the tenth century on a rolling plain, Benin City is the capital of inland Edo State, east of Nigeria’s commercial centre Lagos.
Hugely historic, Benin City once had legendary city walls four times longer than the Great Wall of China, and when the Portuguese first arrived in 1485, they proclaimed Benin City to be one of the best planned towns in the world.
When you visit Benin City now, you’ll see no traces of the walls, and very little of Benin’s Medieval past. But Benin City still enjoys a reputation as one of Nigeria’s cultural hubs.
Head to King’s Square in the city centre and visit the Benin City National Museum to see numerous artefacts of the Benin Empire on display. Look out for the commemorative bronze heads, figurines, carvings and statues. The Benin Bronzes at the British Museum in London came from the Royal Palace of the Benin Kingdom, with other significant collections on show in the United States and Germany.
Make time to visit Oba’s Palace, which dates back to 900 AD. The palace was rebuilt in 1914, though today it is only one tenth of the size of the original structure in the years before it was destroyed by the British in 1897.
Take a stroll around Benin City taking in the bronze and brass artist studios and workshops and art galleries. Hunt out the Sir Victor Uwaifor Art Gallery, run by the Nigerian musician, writer and sculptor who once served as Edo state commissioner for arts and culture.
During your stay in Benin City, arrange to explore Okomu National Park, which is one of the last remaining habitats of Nigerian lowland forest. Here you’ll find flora and fauna ranging from 700 butterfly species to various wild animals, including red river hogs and a troop of shy chimpanzees, as well as endangered species such as the rare white-throated monkey.
There are hotels close to many of Benin City’s major attractions, landmarks and educational establishments. Find a place to stay near the University of Benin, the Oba of Benin’s Palace, and King’s Square – home to the Benin City National Museum.
Accommodation ranges from budget-friendly independent hotels to three- and four-star hotels and lodges from familiar global brands like Best Western and Protea Hotels by Marriott.
Enjoy outdoor swimming pools, full-service spas, fitness centres and 24-hour room service. Some hotels also have children’s pools, indoor tennis courts and laundry facilities.
Whether you’re looking for a simple, low-cost hotel for a quick and easy stay in Benin City, or luxury business or leisure accommodation at the higher end of the market, use Expedia to find the best hotel in Benin City for you.