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Tadese Faforiji at the Zuma Rock

Human-like Face, 5 Things You May Not Know about the Zuma Rock

Zuma Rock, towering 300 meters (980 feet) above the ground, stands as one of the world’s highest and largest monoliths.

Situated in the capital city of Abuja, this natural wonder has a rich history dating back to the 15th century when it was discovered by the Zuba people of Niger State.

The name “Zuma,” given by the Zuba people, means “a place of guinea fowls,” as these birds were abundant around the rock.

The Zuba people settled in the vicinity of the rock, viewing it as a spiritual guide and making offerings to seek protection from harm. Moreover, its elevated location provided a strategic advantage for defence against invading tribes.

Comprised mainly of gabbro and granodiorite, Zuma Rock bears unique features on its surface, resembling a human face with a discernible mouth, nose, and eyes. Over time, natural runoff has carved these facial contours, adding to the rock’s mystical allure.

Remarkably, during the rainy season, the rock sometimes catches fire due to friction caused by moving rocks from the sliding slope. This phenomenon has further contributed to the rock’s awe-inspiring reputation.

Zuma Rock has become an iconic landmark in Nigeria, so much so that it has been featured on the country’s 100 naira notes since 1999. Climbing to the top of the rock is a challenging yet rewarding experience, taking approximately five hours.

Beyond its physical prominence, Zuma Rock holds mythical and legendary significance to the local Gbagyi people. According to their beliefs, the rock served as a defensive retreat during intertribal wars, offering protection against invading neighbouring tribes.

The rock’s distinctive facial features are revered as representations of a deity and ancestral powers, safeguarding and governing the community’s affairs. Additionally, the Gbagyi people view the rock as a gateway to the afterlife, where the spirits of the deceased are said to journey.

Zuma Rock: Gallery

The mysterious phenomenon of the rock catching fire during the rainy season is attributed to the wonders of deities and voodoo spells, making the rock even more enigmatic and revered by the natives.

As travellers pass by the area on the highway from Abuja to Kaduna, they often notice an unusual silence enveloping Zuma Rock, a testament to its spiritual and cultural significance in Nigeria’s history.

Its imposing presence and captivating legends have solidified Zuma Rock’s place as a treasured natural wonder and a revered symbol of spiritual and ancestral heritage in the region.

Zuma Rock: Resources

Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.