Ondo State is one of the ancient cities carved from the Old Oyo Empire. It was created in the early 15th century and it is endowed with some ancient features and locations. Thus, one of the most visited places in Ondo State by tourists is the Idanre hills.
Idanre Hills, also known as Oke Idanre, is one of the famous locations recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The Hills is a site known for its wideness and beautiful landscape, which has in its surroundings Owa’s palace, shrines, The Old Court, Belfry, and Agbooogun footprint, as well as thunder water (Omi Apaara) and burial grounds.
According to oral history, the Idanre hills were found in Idanre town in Ondo State. Thus, there are several hills surrounding Idanre town, protecting the people of the town.
In this piece, Naijabiography explores the history of Idanre and the untold story of the Idanre Hills.
Idanre is one of the ancient communities that have been in existence even before the creation of the old Oyo empire. It is said to have been in existence since 800 years ago and is located in the town of Akure. It was a residence for some sojourners at the time, and they resided in the hills of Idanre before they relocated to the lower part of the hills.
Idanre city had its structure on the magnificent rock in the 1920s before it finally moved to the downside of the hills as a result of civilization and to further develop the community. Also, history has it that when the people needed protection, the hills served as a shield that protected them from invasion.
It would be recalled, as indicated by legends, that missionaries came to Idanre city in 1894 to assess the hills and create ideas for the development of the community.
Before the advent of civilization, it was said that Idanre was full of power and wonder, which was evident in the lifestyle of the people and even their locations and their activities while they were living on the magnificent rock.
History has it that the Idanre hills were discovered by a particular man from Ife who visited the site. This man was said to have been from a royal home and decided to stop at the Idanre community. He was amazed by the ancient hills as well as the magic and black powers of the community, and he then exclaimed with amazement in Yoruba, “idan re” (that is, this is magic).
However, it is noteworthy to state that Idanre Hills has different hills surrounding the city. This is because the hills once served as protection for their inhabitants.
Hills in Idanre City
As indicated earlier, there are some hills in Idanre city. These hills are known as Idanre hills and surround the magnificent Idanre rock. Below are the hills in Idanre city.
Carter Hill is one of the well-known hills in the Idanre community. In 1891, history has it that Carter Hill was given the governor’s name, who was one of the Whites who dwelled in the community at the time. Thus, this was said to have occurred when the colonial governor and the then-Oba of Idanre signed a pact.
Another hill in the Idanre community is called Ajimoba Hill, after a devoted member of the ancient king’s guard.
The daughter of a legendary warrior, Orosun, was given the hill’s name, in keeping with the promise he made to the gods. He promised that if he won the fight, he would sacrifice the first living thing to leave his house. History has it that the warrior gave his first daughter as a sacrifice, and she was buried next to the hill.
Attractions on the Hill
Apart from the incredible features of the magnificent rock and the hills that surround it, there are some other attractive features on the hills. Below are some of the features on the hills while touring;
The White Man’s House
When they were in Idanre Hills, which is where the colonial rulers and missionaries resided, the house they created beside the hill was named “the white man’s house.”
To reach the magnificent rock at Idanre city, there are 682 stairs to climb, as well as 5 resting areas from top to bottom, making it the main attraction.
The first school
On the hill is also where Idanre’s first elementary school is situated. The school was constructed in 1896 and is still operational today. However, it is now a dilapidated location devoid of any type of educational activity.
In the city, local disputes are resolved in an old court of law. The British missionaries built the court in 1906. This is done to maintain law and order in the neighbourhood. The main court, the judge’s chamber, etc. are all there.
Idanre Hills also has a prison where lawbreakers are kept and punished. In addition, the court has a prison yard across from it where inmates and offenders are housed.
The Ancient Palace
The Owa’s Palace is another location worth visiting. This is the earliest palace of this city before it started to decline. This palace dates back to the 17th century.
The House of Lorin
Idanre is under the care of Lorin. A part of the mountain is segregated for the Lorin as the custodian’s residence. Tradition states that he is not allowed to wear clothes, but he is only allowed to tie wrappers. Because of this, you are not allowed to wear clothing or shoes inside his home, and you must have an invitation. His hillside home continues to uphold the custom today.
The Arun River
The Arun River is said to have magical powers that cure any form of illness. Many illnesses and ailments are said to be cured by this river’s alleged mystical healing abilities. The mountain’s summit is home to the Arun River.
The Thunder River is said to be where warriors congregate to have a drink before engaging in combat.
Description of Idanre Hills
One would have a view of the entire city once you reach the top of the hills. You will grow to love the city even more as a result of the view from the site. These, however, are enormous mountains that encircle the entire city.
According to research, Idanre Hills is said to have nine (9) ancient powers, wonders, and beliefs. It is located at 3,000 feet (910 meters) above sea level and has a distinctive environment that the cultural landscape has assimilated.
When you reach the top of the hill, you will notice a large tree known as the “Iraye Tree” at the entrance to the old city of Idanre. At this point, you can start getting ready to ascend the steps to the large metropolis that lies beyond the Idanre hills.