Katsina state monuments & tourism sites


Katsina State has several tourist attractions, the following are some of them:

Kusugu well

Facts about Kusugu well

Kusugu well is located in the ancient town of Daura. The well is of great historical importance to the Hausa people because of its link with establishment of the Saurata system in Hausaland.


According to historical tradition, Kusugu well was discovered in the 7th century during the reign of Queen Daurama who was said to have shifted the capital of Daura Kingdom from Tsohon Birni to the present Daura town as a result of the new found source of water (i.e. Kusugu Well). However, it happened that the well, which was the only source of water for the people in those days was occupied by a dangerous which denied across to the water except on Fridays.

The people of Daura continued to live with the water problem until Bayajidda, the son of Abdullahi the ruler of Baghdad, visited the town. Following strife with his father Bayajidda set for the west with some of his brothers. He later arrived and stayed briefly in Borno where he married Magira the daughter of the ‘Mai of Borno’. He later left Borno and continued his journey westwards and reached Dala hills in Kano where the pagan blacksmiths made a knife for him. He continued his journey northwards until he arrived Daura late in the night. On entering the city, Bayajidda sought water for his horse. However, he was informed that water was available only on Fridays owing to the snake in the well. Bayajidda then asked the way to the well. When he reached there, he put the calabash into the well. The snake seized it and threatened to kill him. He then pulled the snake to the surface and cut its head with his sword.

The following day the town people became amazed when they found the body of the dead snake beside the well. News of the event reached Daurama who quickly sent for Bayajidda. Bayajidda came along with the head of the snake. She told him that she had promised to give half of the town to the man who killed the snake. But he replied that he prefer to marry her rather than being given half of the town. Daurama accepted and the two got married. Daurama later give birth to a make child who was named Bawo.

After the death of Bayajidda, Bawo succeeded to the throne. He gave birth to six son, of these, Kazure the eldest succeeded him as the chief of Daura, followed by Kumayo who became the Chief of Zazzau, Duma became the Chief of Gobir, Bagauda became the Chief of Kano, and Zauna Kogi became the Chief of Rano. Together with Bayajidda’s son by the Magira of Borno who ruled Biram in Hadejia, completes the list of the original seven Hausa States whose rulers are credited with the establishment of Sarauta system in Hausaland.

At present, Kusugu well is preserve as a historical site and monument. Many tourists from within and outside the Country visit it. The sword and the knife which Bayajidda used in killing the snake and the royal drums of his wife Magajiya form part of the royal regalia of Daura, and are preserved in the palace of the Emir. The water in Kusugu has never dried up, and believed to cure many ailments.

Gobarau Minaret

Facts about Gobarau Minaret

Located in Katsina City. It is part of a mosque built in the late 14th century. The mosque is attributed to the introduction and spread of Islam in Hausaland.


Gobarau Minaret is part of a mosque which was built in Katsina in the late 14th century. The historical origin of the mosque could be attributed to the introduction and spread of Islam in Hausaland, and in particular the contribution of Sheikh Muhammad Abdulkarim Almaghili.

According to historical accounts, Islam came to Hausaland around 1389 AD. However, the arrival of Wangarawa Muslim clerics from Mali in the middle of 14th century is regarded as a crucial factor in the spread of Islam. Some sources indicated that before the Wangarawa arrived Kano, they sorjourned in both Katsina and Gobir where they taught people the basic tenets of the Islamic Religion. The impact of Islam in Hausaland had resulted in the transformation of the spritual, economic and political sustem of the people.

The arrival of Sheikh Muhammad Abdulkarim Almaghili from the Maghris to Hausaland in the late 14th century is considered a very important factor in the development of Islamic education. During his stay in Katsina, Sheikh Maghili prompted the building of Gobrau mosque to serve as a centre of spritual and intellectual activities. The mosque developed into a kind of University just as the Sankore in Timbuktu Mali developed into a kind of University. Many scholars and students from different parts of the West African Sub-region came to Katsina to teach or to learn. Among prominent scholars who visited Katsdina include Shiekh Umar bn Aqit the grand father of Ahmed Baba al-Tambukti. His visit is said to have taken place sometime before the death of Sunni Ali the famous ruler of Songhai. The city also received Sheikh al-tadihikti popularly known as Aida Ahmad, and also Sheikh Makhluf bn Salih al-Bilbali a distinguished scholar from Timbukti area.

The Institution of Gobarau had contributed to the diffusion of knowledge in West and Central Billad Sudan. It led to the emergence of an indigenous inteligensia of high repute in Katsina. These included Muhammad al-Sabbagh (Danmarina) and his student Muhammad ibn Masani. Danmarina is credited with commentary of Ishriniyat of al-Fazazi. He also composed a poem in which he celebrated the victory of Borno forces under the leadership of Mai Ali against the Jukun forces. Another important work which al-sabbagh was reported to have compiled was a book curriculum of education on various branches of knowledge.

Another scholar of repute which Katsina produced is Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Katsinawa. He composed many important works. These include among others ‘al-durr al-manzum wa kulasat al-sirr al-maktum fi ulum Tasalim wa alNujum’, which was described by al-Jabarti as a voluminous work. The book was completed in Cairo in 1146 A.D. He also wrote another book titled “Kitab Bahajatul Afaqwa idha al-lubs wa aliqlaq”. It deals with the Science of letters, Magic and Magic squares. Al Katsinawis unparalleled mastery and manipulation of such complex esoteric disciplines had endeared him to some notable scholars in Egypt who developed special interest in the World of occult, and decided to sit at his feet in order to unlock the secrets of the natural and the supernatural World or the physical and the metaphysical World. One of such scholars who was taught by alKatsinawi was aljabarti Kabir (Al-Jabati the senior). He was said to have studied with al-Katsinawi ilmu al awfaq, ulumul kasr wa al Bask (the Science of Fraction and Numeration)

Many of alKatsinawis writings in the field of astrology, astronomy, and the Science of Secrets are extant in different Libraries in the World, but especially in Cairo and London and the Northern History Research Scheme of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Despite the success which al-Katsinawi made in Egypt, he seemed not to have been contented with himself and with the cause of events as far as his ambition was concerned. The evidence for such is to be found in a very short poem consisting of two lines which he gave to aljabarti alkasir his host, as a farewell with which he asked him to inscribe on his grave. The meaning of the poem is that he, alKatsinawi had sought to settle in every corner of the World, he could not find the right place he could satisfy his intellectual and spritual zeal.

What now remains of Gobarau mosque is the minaret which has been preserved for historical popurses. The minaret has a large block of solid masonary at base. There are steps at the northern and eastern sides, which lead to the top of the minaret. The middle block is built on its vertical axis.

At the top of the estern flight of steps, there is a door which leads to a chamber located in the middle block. Above, the first two flight of steps, there are two more flights which lead to the uppermust part of the building. The top of the Minaret is capped with a dome. Because of the importance of the Minaret as a historical landmark, the Federal Government of Nigeria has put it under the protection of National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

Facts about Old Katsina College

Old Katsina CollegeLocated in Katsina City. It was the first Institution of higher learning in Northern Nigeria. It was built in 1921. The College produced eminent personalities such as the Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Aliyu Makaman Bidda and host of others. In recognition of the importance of the Old Katsina College as a historical landmark, the Federal Government declared it a National Monument in 1959.


Before the coming of western education, Islam was the comprehensive learning system which seems to have met society’s expectations and demands. For this reason, the colonial rulers had to treat the matter of spreading western education with caution.
But with the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, the need for education and manpower was most felt. After two decades of British occupation, the Northern Provinces could not produce a single native who was sufficiently educated to fill the most minor clerical post in the office of any government department. To reverse this situation, the Katsina College was founded in 1922 to train teachers for improved syllabus of the provincial schools. In his speech during the opening of the College, Sir Hugh Clifford, Governor of the then Northern Region, explained that the aim was to train teachers who, as true men, could replicate themselves, teachers who could be future leaders, whose characters would have been sufficiently molded to shape society.

The location of the College was not by accident as the Katsina society had traditionally been home of learned and devoted scholars even before the advent of colonialism. In fact, Sir Hugh Clifford in his opening address of the College on 5th March, 1922, was quoted as having explained the reasons for establishing the College as follows:-

The first of these reasons is that Katsina in ancient days was held in high repute throughout the Northern Emirates as seat of learning and piety (and was also) not as yet so close to the railway and to the commercial centers of Nigeria as to make it unsuitable for that guide and tranquility and that freedom from distractions which are so necessary for young men who were devoting their lives to study” (Bello 1962).

The Katsina College began with an initial intake of 50 students drawn from all the provinces of the Northern Region. At the peak of the academic and administration ladder was the Principal, responsible for managing the College. He was answerable to the Regional Director of Education and was assisted by a Deputy, Subject Heads, special teachers and some administrative staff. The students’ wing was headed by seasoned leaders who exceeded in character and learning, serving as guardians of the College’s rules, regulations and procedures. In this sense, responsibilities were shared and spaced among the members of the school community.

Each Province paid five Pounds (£5.00) per student annually to the school authority for the upkeep of the College, as well as for excursion to Lagos during vocation. In addition, the students were given thirty shillings each by their respective provinces for their feeding and other expenses. On the other hand, the colonial administration paid teachers’ salaries and provided infrastructural facilities.

Cooking was not permitted in the college premises, therefore vendors were invited into the college to sell food. The late Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Muhammadu Dikko is said to have forced food sellers to go and display their items for the students to buy. This resulted into the emergence of a mini market called ‘Kasuwar Dole’ (forced market) close to the school. During sallah celebrations, the Emir used to send rams for the students to feast.

The students were accommodated in mud hostels with very small rooms. The beds were made of corn stalks and local mats. In some cases, another type of local bed ‘Tumurgudu’, designed from mud with wooden legs, was provided.

In 1935, the college had four types of programs, namely:-

  • Higher College- 2 years (for the training of teachers who had been working prior to their admission).
  • Middle Upper VI (equivalent to the Southern Province Middle VI)
  • Middle Lower B-I (equivalent to the Southern Province Middle V)
  • Middle Lower V (equivalent to the Southern Province Middle IV)

The range of the core subjects taught was restricted to English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and Religious Instruction. In addition, there were what had been called physical and moral welfare activities including Health and Sanitation, Agricultural and Horticultural undertakings, Games and Physical drills. These kept both the students and the teachers busy.

It is interesting to note that even at the earliest stage; some teachers of the College were drawn from the environment.

For example, Malam Yahuza was significantly a teacher of English and Mathematics as shown in the following table, which contains a list of some of the pioneer teachers of the College.

S/N Name Nationality Subject(s) Taught
1. Mr. Gerald Power British English
2. Mr. C.R. Butler British English
3. Mr. A.A. Shillingford British English
4. Mr. E.D. Graig British English and History
5. Mr. Evic Moht British English and Maths
6. Mr. E.E. Micalson Nigerian English & Geography
7. Malam Nagwamatse Nigerian Arabic and Hausa
8. Malam Bello Kagara Nigerian Hausa
9. Mr. F.G.S. Baylie British English and Maths
10. Mr. K.B. Hill British Science
11. Mr. S.O. Tamietan Nigerian Biology
12. Malam Yahuza Nigerian English and Maths
13. Malam Bello Nigerian Religious Instruction
14. Mr. C. Graham British History and Geography

The Katsina College had achieved its objectives. It produced eminent personalities.  Some of its products held important offices both at Regional and National levels as shown in the following table:

S/N Name Province Office held
1 Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Bauchi Prime Minister of Nigeria
2 Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto) Sokoto Premier Northern Region
3 Alhaji Shehu Ahmed (Madawakin Kano) Kano Deputy Speaker Regional Assembly
4 Alhaji Muhammed Ngilerama Borno Rep. Nigeria at UN
5 Alhaji Aliyu (Makaman Bida) Niger Regional Finance Minister
6 Alhaji Isah Kaita (Wazirin Katsina) Katsina Regional Minister of Education
7 Alhaji Hassan Abuja (Makaman Abuja) Abuja Makaman Abuja
8 Alh. Nuhu Bamali Zaria Regional Minister
9 Alhaji Musa ‘Yar’adua Katsina Minister of Lagos
10 Alhaji Abdulrahman Mora Sokoto Prominent Civil Servant
11 Malam Sa’adu Zungur Bauchi Renown Politician
12 Dr. Abubakar Imam Niger Prominent Educationist and Author

In 1938 the college was transferred to the Regional capital, Kaduna, and renamed Kaduna College.  However, no reason was officially given for the decision.  Mr. Most, who was the Principal at that time, was quoted to have said “we were never told why we had to move to Kaduna.  Perhaps it was for the greater glory of the capital” (Boyd 1986).

In the same year, the College was moved from Kaduna to Zaria with the name ‘Government Secondary School, Zaria’.  In January 1949, that name was changed to ‘Government College, Zaria’ and later Barewa College Zaria

Katsina Emir Palace

Facts about Katsina Emir Palace

It is the official residence of the Emir of Katsina. It was built in the 15th century. It was constructed in the typical Hausa architecture.


The Katsina Royal Palace ‘Gidan Korau’ is a huge complex located in the centre of the ancient city.  It is a symbol of culture, history and traditions of ‘Katsinawa’.  According to historical account, it was built in 1348 AD by Muhammadu Korau who is believed to be the first Muslim King of Katsina.  This explains why it is traditionally known as ‘Gidan Korau’ (House of Korau).  It is one of the oldest and among the first generation Palaces in Hausaland.  The rest are that of Daura, Kano and Zazzau.

The Palace was encircled with a rampart ‘Ganuwar Gidan Sarki’ (which is now extinct).  The main gate which leads to the Palace is known as ‘Kofar Soro’ while the gate at the backyard is called ‘Kofar Bai’ (now extinct).

The Emir’s residential quarters which is the epicenter of the Palace, is a large compound built in the typical Hausa traditional architecture.  The buildings are made of conical-shaped and sun-dried clay bricks (Tubali), Kwababbiyar Kasa (mud), and Kyami (rafters). Other materials include Asabari (rafters), iron doors and windows, Jangargari (red soil), Loda and Makuba (colorants).  The Kyami is a strong and termite-resistant wood flank which is obtained from the deleb palm tree (Borassus Flabeliyer) called Giginya in Hausa. Loda is a plant, the leaves of which when pounded and soaked, provide a viscous fluid which is mixed with Jangargari or Makuba.  The Makuba is a colorant as well as protective paint obtained from the empty pods of locust bean tree.  Asabari is door mat made from a long hollow grass called Tsaune.

The wall of the house is about 90 centimeters at the base.  It is enforced with high quality clay mixed with cow-dung and grass.  A mixture of Jangargari, Makuba,Farar Kasa and Loda was used to adorn the outer walls and the interior of the rooms with beautiful artistic designs.  The mixture also serves as protective plaster. This explains why the buildings withstand the effects of harsh weather for many centuries.

The roofing of the rooms is made of Kyami and Asabari.  The main entrance and reception room, Babban Zaure which is bigger and higher than the others leading to the compound is supported with an array of semi-circular pillars called Bakangizo (Cobweb) or Daurin Guga designs.  Other buildings with such designs include the visitors’ waiting rooms.  Attached to the edges of all the roofs are the Indararo (Water Chutes) to drain rain water.  The four corners at the top of the building are decorated with many Zonkwaye.

The royal compound is divided into three sections:

  • Soro: Is the section where the Emir and his family live.
  • Barga: Is the yard where the Emir’s royal stables, slaves and house servants live.
  • Gidan Ganye: This section contains the royal garden and the Emir’s guest house. This area also serves as a relaxation area for the Emir.

Other parts of the compound include a mosque, clinic, a stable and children’s playground.

Attached to the Babban Zaure is the Emir’s inner chamber in which he sits with his Senior Councilors to receive State Officials and other important people.  To the north-west of the house is the old Council Chamber (Tsohuwar Majalisa) which was built by Emir Dikko (1906-1944)).  Close to the house to the south stands the Masonic Council Chamber (Sabuwar Majalisa) which was built by Sir Usman Nagogo (1944-1951).  The two council chambers serve as venue for the Emir, his Councilors and District Heads to meet and deliberate on matters affecting the Emirate.  Also attached to the Emir’s inner chamber is a room which was converted into a Polo Gallery ‘Dakin Kwaf’.  It contains pictures of Katsina’s earliest polo teams and cups won by the Emirs dating back to early 1920’s when the game was introduced in Nigeria.

Beside the Emir’s residential house are two other quarters called ‘Cikin Gida and ‘Saulawa’ which are within the precinct of the rampant.  These quarters house the Emir’s personal servants such as the Sarkin Dogarai, Shamaki, Turaki, Sarkin Zagi, Shantali, Baraya, Sarkin Lihidda, Sarkin Mota, Rumbuna etc.  The Saulawa quarters may have been the area where the royal granaries stood.

The Katsina royal regalia are among the most important historical materials kept in the palace.  The Emir is the chief custodian.  The regalia consist of two swords, a large camel drum and a bronze pot made of overlapping plates riveted together.  All these are said to have come down from Habe times and were taken over by the Fulani at the time of the Danfodio jihad in 1804.  The short sword, ‘Gajere’ is said to be the one used by Korau to kill Sanau.  The story of this wrestling and subsequent death of Sanau is told in traditions that “at a particular time in history, the Habe of Katsina used to meet yearly for feasting and wrestling under a tamarind tree known as ‘Bawada’.  At one of these gatherings, Korau, a wrestler from ‘Yandoto, challenged King Sanau. Sanau was a noted wrestler but Korau discovered that the secret of his wrestling power depended on a string of charms he wore round his waist.  Korau therefore intrigued with Sanau’s wife to steal the charms.  Sanau, powerless without his charms, was

Emir Palace Daura

Facts about Emir Palace Daura

This palace was built in the 7th century during the reign of Magajiya Daurama. It was constructed with sun baked clay and local rafters (Azara).


The Palace of Emir of Daura is a beautiful edifice located at the centre of the town. Traditions indicate that the Palace was built by Magajiya Daurama shortly after she moved the Capital of the Kingdom from Tsohon Birni (Old City) to the present Daura city. The Palace was constructed in the typical Hausa architecture, using sun-baked bricks, mud, local rafters known as ‘Azara’, and a colorant, ‘Makuba’. The Palace contains large ‘Zaure’ (main entrance) and several inner apartments or chambers.

One of these apartments, ‘Dakin Gani’ (Conference Room) was the hall in which the rulers of the seven Hausa States used to meet in order to deliberate on important matters which affected them. These yearly meetings at Daura indicate the importance of the town as the centre of political activities of Hausaland in those days.

Previously, the Palace extended eastwards to the compound of Sarkin Bai at the rear. This entrance, known as Kofar Bai (the slaves’ gate) was controlled by Sarkin Bai and the Fada Babba. In pre-colonial days, only throne slaves were permitted to enter or leave the Palace by the rear gate, while the front gate was open to persons of any status. Both gates were guarded by slaves, who also stood guard at both the forecourt and the rear sections of the Palace. The area directly behind the Sarki’s private quarters within the Palace is known as ‘Shamaki’ (stables). This section harbored State treasures which were kept in store houses. Also, in the corner of Shamaki were the prisons manage by ‘Ajiya’.
During the 19th century, there used to be a huge tamarind tree on the Palace grounds under which the Emir turbaned District Chiefs and other titleholders during the Fulani Dynasty. This Tamarind tree, which pre-dated the Fulani’s, seems to have had some significance for rituals during the period of Habe rulers.

The Sarki’s private quarters also harbored compounds of minor slave officials such as Sarkin Zagi who lived in the palace. This section also known as ‘Kangiwa’, (the elephant’s head), is traditionally reserved for important state ceremonies, show of horsemanship and paying homage to the Sarki during Muslim festivals. After their victory, the Fulani built a new mosque at the Kangiwa immediately beside the palace gate.

The Daura royal regalia are kept in the palace, with the Emir as the chief custodian. The regalia consist of three state swords, one of which has hieroglyphic inscriptions on its blade and is attributed to Bayajidda, the founder of the Sarauta system in Hausaland. The second belongs to Danbaura, the Chief of Maradi, (now in Niger Republic) while the third is known as ‘Gajere’ (the short one). The regalia also include a string of amulets, a cap, a shirt of amulets, two finger rings, a silver pan, a Muslim rosary, two royal saddles (one of which comes from North Africa), a chain mail and silk cotton armor, Turu drum, and three Tambura drums (of which Gamagira is the largest). The rest are two drums of Dantomo and the calabash drums used by Dakama.

In the ancient times, on the day of enthronement of a new Sarki, the Kingmakers would instruct the Dantomo to beat the tune calling for people to assemble. Slaves would then raise a platform to serve as a throne beneath the ancient tamarind tree that formally stood inside the palace court. This platform was covered with the richest carpets and clothes in the palace. The garments in which the new Sarki would appear were then laid upon it, together with a turban, burnoose, the rings and amulets mentioned above, and one of the state swords. A new pair of embroidered shoes decorated with Ostrich feathers is placed before the throne.
While the assembly waited, the Kaura and Galadima would lead the Sarki designate to the mosque in the palace forecourt, which had a special room reserved for these occasions. Throne slaves follow, bringing the new garments. The Galadima and Fada Babba would then dress the new Sarki in his new royal clothes and present to him the robes, burnoose, and shoes of office, while the Kaura puts on his turban. The new Sarki then girds his sword and returns to the forecourt, while Dakama beat his drums and sings the ceremonial song (Take) of the former Sarakuna of Daura, including the new ruler’s ancestors. When this is over, the new Sarki takes a drum stick and beats the Gamagira (drum) a dozen times. This is perhaps the decisive act in the ceremony, the moment of accession. The senior throne slaves then sat the Sarki on the dais for the first time, spreading their robes to shield him from public view as he sits. Thus the accession is completed.