You must have read about the African city that existed underneath a rock. Yes! it isn’t fiction. The rock and city still exist. The African all-protective-rock is seated in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. It is a massive outcrop of granite rocks of a primitive formation called “Olumo Rock”. “Olumo” rock, meaning “God mold this” is a monument of unity, strength, and source of protection for the Egba people who now inhabit the rocky environs.
According to history, the rock was first discovered by a hunter who frequently abode there to rest. It soon became a hideout for Egba warlords and locals in the 1800s. They lived in the cave under the rock to seek protection. In the cave lies three bedrooms and cooking area with holes used for grinding. The rock soon morphed into a strategy zone, where the warlords plan their next movements and monitor the enemy’s advancement. Thanks to the highest point of the rock, which is about 137 meter from its base. The eventual triumph led to the formation of the city’s name (Abeokuta) which means “under the rock”.
Olumo Rock and It’s Mysteries
There are lots of mysteries around the rock. Apart from the belief that it’s a god/deity sent to protect the Egbas in the time of war, the rock is still regarded as their fortification shrine with sacrifices made to its deity annually. Divine consultations go on there till date.
The physique of the rock.
The sight of the rock from the entrance of the complex is in itself mystical. The first thing that hit you at the venue is the sight of imposing rocks sitting over another. Another closer looks reveal a human-like structure. It’s top looks like a pregnant woman lying face up, with belly pointing to the sky. This same top also gives a panoramic view of the town landmarks.
The Medicinal Water
There in the rock is a spring of medicinal water that continually flows out near ‘the crown tree’. Wondering what the crown tree is? It is a tree which leaves are used for the coronation of kings in the Yoruba land. The particular crown tree in Olumo rock can only be used for the Alake of Egbaland’s coronation. So, the water flows down to the bottom of the rock to be accessible by all.
The Resilient Tree
The “Odan” tree growing in the rock is regarded as the ‘Tree of Doggedness and Resilience. It sprang out of the base of two rocks, with its green leaves watered. At the front of the tree is an inscription that tells its story. Its root and stem are fused into the rock the tap nutrients, a symbol of a struggle to stay alive.
The Mystical Snake
Olumo rock is a historical giant rock with an image of a snake on it. It was said to have transformed from a giant snake to a stone-like snake, evidence of the protective power of the rock diety. To the Egbas, the snake was an intruder who attempted sliding across the rock to gain access to the Egba’s hideout but got arrested by the rock.
Some tourists who closely looked at the giant snake-like stone confirmed that the image looks like a real snake with mouth partly opened. It stuck within some boulders of the rock hanging which makes it unsafe for anyone to do carve there. Moreover, some part of the snake remains inside the cracks of the huge fixed stones and can only be seen with good lighting. Do you think this myth is some worth believable?
How about you schedule a visit to Olumo to confirm this yourself? Are you scared of the difficulty in climbing the rock? Don’t worry. Climbing has been made a lot easier with the installation electronic powered lift. That is a good alternative for you but, you catch more fun using the ancient stairway.