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Katsina is a city in northern Nigeria and is the capital of Katsina State, with an estimated population is 459,022. The city is the center of an agricultural region producing groundnuts, cotton, hides, millet and guinea corn, and also has mills for producing peanut oil and steel. The city is largely Muslim and the population of the city is mainly from the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups.
Due to its vast arable land, it is currently playing a leading role in commodity/food production namely: cotton, groundnut, millet, guinea corn, maize, rice, wheat, and vegetables. Government’s encouragement and general incentives to both large and small scale as well as peasant farming over the year, has been quite commendable. The industries in Katsina town include vegetable oil mills and a steel-rolling plant.During the sub-Saharan trade, the city of Katsina was known to be one of the most vibrant and strong commercial centers and was believed to be the strongest with the Hausa kingdoms in terms of commerce, trade, and craft.
Festivals and Carnivals
The Durbar (military parade) festival dates back hundreds of years to when the northern emirates used horses in warfare. During this period, each town, district and nobility household were expected to contribute a regiment to the defence of the emirate. Once or twice a year, the emirate military chiefs invited the various regiments to participate in a durbar for the Emir and his chiefs.
During the parade, regiments would showcase their horsemanship, their preparedness for war and their loyalty to the emirate. Today the Durbar has become a festival celebrated in honour of visiting heads of state and at the culmination of the two great Muslim festivals: Id-el Fitri and Id-el Kabir.
Jaci is a small village located in the Mani LGA. It lies along a major waterway popularly known as “Fadamar Jaci”. Muhammadu Dikko, a former Emir of Katsina, began the Jaci fishing festival around 1905 when he was the District Head of Mani. He was said to have developed an interest in the site which he visited annually for fishing and hunting in the dry season.
After his death, his successor Alhaji Sir Usman Nagogo continued the tradition initiated by his father, visiting the site every year in the company of the British colonial officials living in Katsina. During the annual gathering, fishermen converged at the site from different parts of the Katsina Province and from the neighbouring Republic of Niger. Shortly before the death of Usman Nagogo, the festival ceased temporarily until it was revived in 2000.
Kallon Kuwa Festival
Kallon Kuwa is a post-harvest youth cultural festival. Its name is derived from Kallon Kowa which means “viewing for all” in Hausa. The festival started around 1935 and takes place annually in various villages, including Shinkafi, Dankanjiba, Dutsen Safe and Rimin Guza. It is held to express happiness for the successful completion of the cropping season and to celebrate the coming of “Kaka” – a time of prosperity in terms of abundant food and increased economic and social activities.
It is a time of leisure, entertainment and the promotion of cultural traditions after a long period of farming and also provides an opportunity for the youth to choose marriage partners. One of the most important activities which takes place during the early stages of Kallon Kuwa is a kind of drama in which the youth imitate the Hausa traditional form of authority, which emphasises the role of the Sarki (king) as the political head of the community as well as the custodian of the people’s culture. Traditional wrestling, boxing, singing, and dancing also take place.
How To Get To Katsina
Getting to Katsina is not quite difficult. From Lagos, one can take a flight to Katsina. There are also transport company buses from any part of the Country that takes you to Katsina. There is Katsina Airport which operates regular scheduled domestic flights to Bauchi, Sokoto, Yola, Abuja, Lagos, and Maiduguri. Several road transport companies provide travel services from various locations around the country to Katsina.
Most popularly patronized travel companies include: Audu, Alh. Fari Transport, Halal Transport, and Mai Ishiriniya Transport Company The cost definitely depends on the region of the country one is travelling from. The most popular Lagos airline for direct flights from Lagos to Katsina is Arik Air. Getting back from Katsina to Lagos, there is a direct flight at Katsina Airport. The city has direct road networks to Bauchi, Yola, Abuja, Lagos and Maiduguri. Katsina can be accessed by road from any part of Nigeria.
The bus fare from Lagos to Katsina is N4000 and by distance is 1014km while the flight ticket to Katsina costs about N42000.
The major train station in Katsina is the Katsina Railway Sation. The distance from Nigeria Railway Station, Kano to Katsina Railway Station is about 171km.
The Katsina Airport is an airport serving Katsina, the runway is on the northeast side of the city, located 4 kilometres from the centre of Katsina, There are regular scheduled domestic flights to Bauchi, Kebbi, Lagos, Abuja and Sokoto. The airport has information including flight arrivals, flight departures, instrument approach procedures, weather forecast.The airlines operating there are Arik Air and IRS Airlines.
The best route by road is Lagos-Abuja-Maiduguri-Katsina and by air is Arik Air Lagos-Abuja-Katsina.
There are major train stations are Tarragona Station, Altafulla Station, and Maiduguri Stations.
Getting Around Katsina
Most of the movement around the city is done by cabs and taxis which are available to take passengers to major points in the city. Transportation through these means is cheap in Katsina City.
Here are some safety tips to guide the travellers, either for a visit or a short stay: Be vigilant and avoid late night trips especially when alone, ensure to walk in groups, stay in a good and properly secured Katsina hotel, ask questions if in any difficulties, and leave suspicious surroundings immediately.
Things To Do In Katsina
Wouldn’t it be exciting if you pay a visit to the Gobarau Minaret built about 300 years ago? It was built of baked clay and mud and has been a thing of wonder to the inhabitants of the city. Legend has it that in those days, because of its height, it was used for surveillance purposes from where warriors could see enemies advancing on the ancient city. You can go see for yourself, it would be a worthwhile experience.
Pay a visit to the Katsina Emirate. 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’.
Attending the Durbar festival which dates back hundreds of years will also be great. It records when the northern emirates used horses in warfare. During the parade, regiments would showcase their horsemanship, their preparedness for war and their loyalty to the emirate. I’m sure it will be a lot of fun seeing the masquerades which wouldn’t harm you.
Also, take a tour of the Katsina Teacher’s College which was built in 1921 and it is reputed to be the oldest institution of higher learning in northern Nigeria.
When you feel hungry, Katsina has a host of restaurants; where you can find both local and foreign dishes. I will advise that you try out their local dishes, tasty and delicious.
Free Things to do in Katsina
There are quite a number of free things to do in Katsina. Visitors could start their tour around the city at Umar Musa Yaradau, also known as Katsina Airport, this is one of the modern breeds of airports Nigeria boasts of. With the standard of the terminal, the tarmac and runway, the control tower, access roads, and the Arrival and Departure sections, the airport is a masterpiece and pride to all Nigerians. This is a very safe location. Attending the Durbar festival is a special activity and free to all Katsina invites its guests and residents to this festival. Another free place would be to visit the city gates, the ancient seven gates of the city wall continue to fascinate visitors to the town, and something that faraway tourists have heard about and wish to see.
How to spend 48 hours in Katsina City
If you wish to make good use of your stay in Katsina with just a very little time, there is always a way. Here are hints on how to maximize your short stay there. You should start your day by paying a visit to the Katsina Emirate also known as the Katsina Royal Palace is located in the centre of the ancient city. It would give you a full understanding of their symbol of culture, history and traditions of ‘Katsinawa’.
Also, a stop at the National Museum Katsina State; established in 1921 and located within the premises of the Old Katsina Training College would be ideal. It was declared a Historical Monument and a national museum in 1989. Be prepared to devote your hours because there are a lot of activities that would engage you.
Your next stop would be a visit to the Gobarau Minaret, constructed over 300 years ago, the tower has now become a symbol of the city.
It will be great if you choose to have a taste of their delicious local dishes in Katsina. Please try out restaurants like Jay Jay Restaurant, Katsina City Restaurant, City Restaurant Exclusive and Magama Restaurant. After eating the meal, you could wrap up your visit finally by attending Durbar festival. It would be great to have a little fun at this festival.
Interesting Places to Visit in Katsina
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 the historical account, it was built in 1348 AD by Muhammadu Korau who is believed to be the first Muslim King of Katsina. It is one of the oldest and among the first generation Palaces in Hausa land. The rest is that of Daura, Kano and Zazzau. The Palace was encircled with a rampant ‘Ganuwar Gidan Sarki’. The main gate which leads to the Palace is known as ‘Kofar Soro’ while the gate at the backyard is called ‘Kofar Bai’. The Emir’s residential quarters which is the epicentre of the Palace is a large compound built in the typical Hausa traditional architecture.
The Gobarau Minaret
The Gobarau Minaret has constructed over 300 years ago – of baked clay and mud. It is a 50-foot or 15-meters minaret located at the centre of Katsina city. The tower has now become a symbol of the city. Over the centuries, it has been used as a central mosque, an Islamic centre for higher education, and a high tower for spotting invading armies. The Gobarau minaret is believed to be one of the tallest buildings in Katsina State. The tower is also said to have been constructed 664 years ago. The minaret reflects the Timbuktu style architecture. Though it was built for religious purposes, the Gobarau was converted to a security tower and it is now a tourist attraction.
As it stands today, the famous Gobarau minaret (Hasumiyya) is part of the first Friday Mosques built in the ancient city of Katsina between (1348-1398). The tower was said to have collapsed due to neglect and lack of maintenance before it was rebuilt by Emir Muhammad Dikko.
This ancient tower could be a beautiful sight for tourist.
Katsina city gate
Katsina city gate is a tourist attraction because of the wall that surrounds it with its seven different gates. The wall was built about 900 years ago during the reign of King Murabus.
The ancient seven gates of the city wall continue to fascinate visitors to the town, and something that faraway tourists have heard about and wish to see.
The Katsina Teacher’s College
The Katsina Teacher’s College was built in 1921 and it is reputed to be the oldest institution of higher learning in northern Nigeria. It was built with red-baked mud and fired clay. It remains a tourist attraction today and a place that visitors want to see when they come into Katsina town. It was declared a Historic Monument on April 23, 1959.
The old school building is another grand traditional architectural master class and a conspicuous symbol of culture and history; more so as it is now turned into Katsina Museum. Situated in Kofar Sauri area of the city, the red baked clay structure still tickles the fantasy of tourists. Before the coming of western education, Islam was the comprehensive learning system, which served the needs of the people at the time. For this reason, it was a big challenge for the colonial rulers to introduce western education, they, however, treated the issue with caution and subsequently, a Teachers Training College otherwise known as Katsina College was established in 1922.
National Museum Katsina State
This museum was established in 1921 and it is located within the premises of the Old Katsina Training College. It was declared a Historical Monument and a national museum in 1989.
Small brightly painted wooden dolls are what come to mind when people hear the word Katsina. These dolls are actually called tithu by the Hopi people. They are referred to as katsintithu when a more specific term is needed. Katsina primarily refers to the supernatural beings who are believed to visit Hopi villagers during half of the year. Katsinas have the power to bring rain, exercise control over the weather, help in many of the everyday activities of the villagers, punish offenders of ceremonial or social laws, and, in general, to function as messengers between the spiritual domain and mortals. Katsinas are spiritual messengers.
Traditionally, katsina dolls are used as teaching tools. They are the carved representations of the Katsinam, the spirit messengers of the universe.
Places to Eat in Katsina
Best restaurants in Katsina State:
Jay Jay Restaurant
Jay Jay Restaurant is working in Bars, pubs and taverns, Restaurants and mobile food service activities.
Restaurants and mobile food service activities. Serene atmosphere, courteous attendants, great meals. Meat-pie and Moi Moi best in town.
J. Spot Shawarma Joint
J. Spot Shawarma Joint is located in Katsina. Restaurants and mobile food service activities.
Katsina City Restaurant
Katsina City Restaurant is located in Katsina. Katsina City Restaurant is working in Restaurants activities. Food taste good, the environment is okay and the hygiene fair enough.
City Restaurant Exclusive
City Restaurant Exclusive is located in Katsina. City Restaurant Exclusive is working in Restaurants activities.
A homely setting. Diners eat on the carpeted floor. Food is great and also excellent. Prompt & courteous service. Restaurants and mobile food service activities.
Places to Stay in Katsina
1 Mohammad Bashar Road, GRA, Katsina.
Katsina Motel is a budget hotel in Kastina, Katsina. Katsina motel is one of the Nigeriaâ€™s finest motels, providing exclusive accommodations, attentive services, and personalized amenities that pamper the leisure traveler, support the business traveler and facilitate great meetings and outstanding events.
Liyafa Palace Hotel
Ibrahim Badamosi Babagida Way, Off Kano Road, Katsina.
Liyafa Palace Hotel, located in the heart of Katsina-Nigeria, combines traditional Arabic architecture with modern, spacious accommodations. Katsina Airport is a 10-minute drive away and can be reached using the hotel’s free airport shuttle service. Liyafa Palace hotel knows exactly how to give you the perfect stay. Liyafa Palace Hotel is a budget hotel in Katsina.
Fadama View Motel Limited
Off Yahaya Madaki Way, GRA, Katsina.
Fadama View Motel Limited is situated in Katsina State, a 13-minute drive from Umar Musa Yaradua airport. It features a restaurant and bar. The onsite restaurant serves Nigerian and African dishes. Guests can order drinks at the bar. Fadama View Motel Limited is an affordable hotel in Katsina.
Al-Bhustan Hotels Ltd
No 15, Yahaya Madaki Road, Katsina.
The on-site restaurant serves African cuisine which guests can enjoy in the dining room. The hotel provides 24-hour electricity. On-site and nearby parking is available. Car hire, city and airport shuttle services are available at a surcharge fee. Laundry and dry cleaning services can also be arranged.
Katsina Sahara Suite
36A Hassan Usman, Katsina.
The hotel is a 15 minutes’ drive from the airport and five minutes’ drive from Kanu Transport Line. The hotel rooms are categorized into the executive room and executive suite. Food and drinks are readily available at the restaurant and bar. Dry cleaning and airport pickup are additional services available at a surcharge fee. Onsite parking space is ample.
Katsina is a beautiful city. There is an opportunity to combine both work and pleasure. There are fantastic tourist attractions, rich historical sites and fun places to be, but to mention a few. A mind that is stretched by a new experience, can never go back to its old dimensions. Happy Days are wonderful and happy days are to be experienced at Katsina City.
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