Built in 15 Century AD. 17.5 km in circumference with 16 gates, protecting what used to be an important centre of trade towards the north across the Sahara. Within the walls, the Gidan Makam Museum is a national monument of architectural excellence.
– (culled from www.nigerianmuseums.org)
Kano has probably a longer and more fully traceable history than any other of the cities in Nigeria and its name along with that of Timbuktu throughout the World, even those who have had no special reason for studying West Africa in detail.
For nearly ten centuries, a city of Kano, significant in size and importance has centered round the twin iron-bearing hills of Dalla and Goron Dutsen. It was in the 15th century A.D, about a century before Shakespeare was celebrating his own country as this royal throne of Kings. This fortress built by nature for herself against infection and the hand of war that Kano under its twentieth Emir, Muhammed Rumfa, achieved its greatest pre-eminence in Hausaland.
In later times, amidst perpetual wash of balance of tides of forces Kano was raided, besieged and occasionally conquered; sometimes by its Chief rivals among the other Hausa states, especially Zaria and Katsina; sometime by other immigrant peoples who were on the move in the western Sudan, the Kwarafa, the Kanuri, the Zamfarawa, the Gobir, the Fulani, the Ningi, the Maradi to say nothing of the British. Through all these vicissitudes, the essential life of Kano as a centre of trade and communications continued with little dislocation.
Until the end of the nineteenth century, it prospered as the principal distribution centre for the trans-saharan caravan routes; during the twentieth, as the chief collection centre at the rail-head of the Nigerian Railway Network. The clear outline and depth of the moat is so marked that it appears in even better preservation than the perimeter wall itself. Possibly this: Section was never an outer wall, but was built as a second line of defence, either of the time of Wambai Giwa or at an even later period.