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Gidan Rumfa: Emir of Kano’s 33-acre palace

Gidan Rumfa: Emir of Kano’s 33-acre palace
Photo by Shiraz Chakera- Ask Nigeria

It is the longest-continued seat of power for a sub-Saharan African leader.

The Gidan Rumfa (sometimes called the “Gidan Sarki” which roughly translates to “Emir’s house”) is the palace of the Emir of Kano, which is located in the city of Kano in Kano State, Nigeria. The palace was constructed in the 15th century and named after Sarkin Kano Muhammad Rumfa who flourished between 1466 and 1499 and established the palace. The campus now covers 33 acres (130,000 square meter). It is a core component of the city of Kano and is regarded as one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Hausa architecture in Nigeria.

Since the reign of Rumfa, the palace has continued to be the residence of the traditional authority in Kano. It was retained by Fulani jihadists (led by Uthman dan Fodio) who took over traditional authority in Kano after defeating and capturing the city in early 19th century. During his time, Rumfa transformed the city of Kano. He was said to be have authored twelve innovations in Kano including the palace and the Kurmi market, according to the Kano Chronicle. Before the erection of the Gidan Rumfa, there was a palace whose south gate now serves as the passage from the Sarkin’s private courtyard to the royal graveyard.

Exterior wall is modestly decorated with shallow arched grooves.

Palace compound is surrounded by a wall of between 20 to 30 feet high from the outside and not more than 15 feet from the inside. Visitors and tourists have commented on the durability of the wall, which was said to have been 15 feet thick in some places. It is elongated inward and surmounted by rounded crenellations. Similar to the exteriors of the buildings inside the complex, the exterior wall is modestly decorated with shallow arched grooves traced in the mud plaster. The eleven-mile wall was once surrounded by a moat with a parapet bridge to the main south gate.

At the main entry gate of the compound is Kofar Kudu, which is located in the southern frontage of the wall. This gate has bronze detailing and is recessed from the line of the wall. Within the walls of the recession are studded loopholes, where a mantelet was hung in front of the gate. According to legends, this southern gate was sealed by Muhammad Rumfa in the 1480s soon after the completion of the palace. This was on the advice of the town’s official Islamic scholar (or malam) who prophesized that as long as the southern gate was sealed, the Rumfa dynasty would remain in power. Not until just before 1806 when the mantelet was supposedly removed that the Rumfa dynasty fell from power. The palace complex used to contain grazing areas for the royal cattle, and the dwellings of the palace retainers, public reception rooms, and the apartments of the Rumfa himself.

The contributions to the transformation of the Gidan Rumfa.

All the successors of Rumfa have in one way or another contributed to the transformation of the Gidan Rumfa, but some have made outstanding landmarks. Ibrahim Dabo (1819-1846) constructed Soron Mallam and Dakin Shekara, both of which are still relevant in the ascension procedures. Sarkin Kano Abdullahi Majekarofi built the Kofar Kudu Gate. Sarkin Kano Bello (1883-1893) constructed Soron Bello and the mosque at Kofar Kudu that was renovated by Sarkin Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero (1963-2014). Sarkin Kano Shehu (1919-1926) constructed Soron Shehu.

Sarkin Alhaji Abdullahi Bayero (1926-1953) introduced modern construction in the palace as he did in other public buildings. He constructed the famous Soron Ingila, which for eighty years remained the court where the emir receives guest. He also constructed Dogon Gida (Tall House, named because of its tall height) and Farin Gida (White House, which was constructed in the Garden of the Ostrich – “Shekar Jimina”) during his reign. Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Sanusi (1953-1963) constructed the Council Chamber and the Court House at Kofar Kudu in the palace. He also made another gate at the northern part of Gidan Rumfa known as Kofar Mota.

Muhammad Sanusi II chose the Andalusian styles of Islamic architecture.

He ascended the throne on June 8, 2014 and immediately realized that the palace needed to be modernized. Influenced by Andalusian styles of Islamic architecture, he ensured that most of the new structures are decorated with Islamic calligraphy and quotations that are similar to those at the Alhambra Palace of Andalusia. He reconstructed the residence of Hajiya Fulani Halima, the daughter of Sarkin Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero, in the Maghribean style befitting her status.


Related Link

Kano Empire: Website

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1
18 days ago

Gidan Rumfa: Emir of Kano’s 33-acre palace – It is the longest-continued seat of power for a sub-Saharan African leader. – Express your point of view.

Member
8
17 days ago

After Uthman dan Fodio defeated the Hauser and took over the their land since then no other power have been able take over power from the Fulanis who have been able to establish their territory in all the lands of the Hauser’s. It is expected that their reign should be the long especially in Kano where Gidan Rumfa the Emir of Kano have 33-acre palace preserved till date as the longest.

Member
8
17 days ago

After the conquest of the jihadist Uthman Dan Fodio of the Hauser land the dynasty of the Fulani Emirs continue with great strength in the core north of Nigeria. The culture and traditions of the Hauser where not destroyed but preseved by Fulanis.Gidan Rumfa an Emir of Kano is a perfect example with 33-acre palace. It is truly the longest seat of power.

Member
8
17 days ago

It is widely considered to be one of the instances of traditional Hausa architecture in Nigeria that has been kept the finest, and it plays an essential role in the city of Kano.

Member
9
17 days ago

Wow this is such an historical place the Emir’s palace in kano has been in existence since the 15gh century that stands at 33 acre is a sight to behold,and longest continued seat of power.

Member
8
17 days ago

The fact that the palace was built in the 15th century and named after Sarkin Kano Muhammad is a magnificent thing.

Member
8
17 days ago

There was a palace on this site prior to the construction of the Gidan Rumfa, and the south gate of that palace is currently used as the entrance to the royal cemetery from the private courtyard of the Sarkin.

Member
8
17 days ago

The fact that the external wall is simply ornamented with shallow arched grooves carved in the mud plaster is a positive thing. These grooves are similar to the exteriors of the buildings that are located inside the complex.

Member
8
17 days ago

There was a palace on this site prior to the construction of the Gidan Rumfa, and the south gate of that palace is now used as the entrance to the royal cemetery from the private courtyard of the Sarkin.

Member
8
17 days ago

It is a significant part of Kano and is thought to be among Nigeria’s best-preserved examples of traditional Hausa architecture.

Member
8
17 days ago

Wow, I had no idea that the palace compound had grazing pastures for the royal livestock, as well as the residences of palace retainers, public reception rooms, and the quarters of the Rumfa himself.

Member
8
17 days ago

The majority of the brand-new buildings include Islamic calligraphy and phrases that are strikingly comparable to those seen on the walls of the Alhambra Palace in Andalusia.

Member
8
17 days ago

This place is an amazing tourist attraction center. The accessories and structures in this palace are worth longing to see. The Gidan Rumfa has changed as a result of the contributions made by every of Rumfa’s predecessors,and that’s good.

Abusi
Member
8
17 days ago

This is so good. The palace of emir of Kano depicts royalty. It really shows the magnanimity status of the king. It was well constructed with historical designs.

Member
8
17 days ago

The culture and traditions of the Hause where not destroyed but preserved by Fulanis and it it plays an essential role in the city of Kano.

Member
8
17 days ago

This is a amaze place. A longest-continued seat of power for a sub-Saharan African leader where Gidan Rumfa the Emir of Kano have 33-acre palace for 15 century what a wonderful place

Member
8
17 days ago

It is essential to Kano’s growth and is often cited as the best example of traditional Hausa architecture that has been preserved in Nigeria.

Member
9
16 days ago

Gidan Rumfa: Emir of Kano’s 33-acre palace. This is a very strong history of Hausa land. In those days Hausa land is among the strongest empire in Africa. Before they where deceived by Uthman Dan fodio and was conquered. Till date, hause land is taken by Fulani

Member
8
16 days ago

After the Hauser land was conquered by the jihadist Uthman Dan Fodio, the Fulani Emir dynasty thrived in northern Nigeria. Fulanis preserved Hauser culture. Emir of Kano Gidan Rumfa has a 33-acre palace. It’s power’s longest seat.

Member
8
16 days ago

It is considered to be one of the instances of traditional Hausa architecture that has been preserved the best in all of Nigeria. It is an important element of Kano.

Member
8
16 days ago

As the best surviving example of traditional Hausa architecture in Nigeria, it plays a pivotal role in Kano’s development.

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