Olumo rock is a historical monument located in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The Ogun State government describes the site as “massive outcrop of granite rocks of primitive formation from which Abeokuta the capital of the state derived its name.” This community is so influenced by this sight that the capital city was named Abeokuta after it, which translates too “under the rock.” The word Olumo also translates to another meaning which is “all the troubles and sufferings were over” which relates toits use for the Egba people of Abeokuta in the past. While it was only in nineteen seventy-six that Olumo Rock officially became a tourist sight and began getting more frequent visits from tourists its historical importance to the community surrounding it dates all the way back to the 1800s.
The origin of the Olumo rock stems directly from the Yoruba Revolutionary Wars, also known as the Yoruba Civil Wars, that happened from the years 1789 to 1880. During this time war was prevalent and many Egba peoples tried to get away from the destruction from the wars. Olumo rock was the refuge camp for those who were trying to escape the pain and suffering caused by these inter city wars. Another reason this site is so significant is the spiritual past that it has. It was believed that Olumo rock possessed healing powers “that connoted something spiritual for the residents of Ogun.” It is because of this belief that traditional healers used to 2
travel all the way to Olumo rock to get the water that had flowed from the top of the rock down to the base. “According to these traditionalists, the water had some potent healing elements that could cure several illnesses and diseases. It was said that Olumo rock usually produced this healing water used by local herbalist to cure sickness and diseases only during the raining season.” Unfortunately the rock has stopped producing water up to fifty years ago but that does not stop people from allowing the Olumo rock into their hearts. Between the spiritual beliefs surrounding it and the fact that people were able to use the rock as a place of refuge during times of war proves its importance in history and to the people living around the rock. Today, the rock is still very important in many peoples lives, including tourists and there are still many places and celebrations to see that still occur there.
While the Olumo rock has significant importance regarding its past, in present day it is just and influential. The Egba people surrounding the rock consider it to be a symbol of unity and protection to this day and tourists frequently visit for a variety of reasons. Tours through the
caves are popular at Olumo rock because you can see where these refugees escaped to and lived over two hundred years ago! Another interesting sight to see is at the apex of the rock. Atop Olumo rock is the very first church in Nigeria and reaching the apex is not difficult because of the way they cater to their visitors. “Olumo rock tourist complex has modern infrastructures of a heavy duty glass escalator running through the different levels of the rock with a wellconstructed stair way for visitors with phobia for climbing mountains.” It also has other attractions along the base of the rock such as restaurants, a museum, a conference hall, a garden, and more! The site also frequently continues to have spiritual celebrations such as sacrifice and prayers. On the upper part of the rock the Egbaland, who is the ruler of the Egba people, goes to an ancient shrine for these practices.
This sight is important in understanding this troubled past of the Egbas and their ancestors. It also shows people how strongly they feel about their beliefs because it has beencarried out for generations.