CHIEF OGIAMEN'S HOUSE IN BENIN, EDO STATE
Declared a National Monument on 26th May, 1959. This is a fine example of a Bini style
house with an elaborate system of court yards and altars. It is quite unique being an
important Chief's palace built before the 1897 expedition and which was not touched by the
inferno which destroyed most of the city at that time. History has it that it was the only
house to survive the destruction of the city that followed the British expedition of 1897.
Situated at No 97, Sakponba Road, what is left of the original Ogiamen's palace today
covers about 1394m2(15,000 Sq.ft.). History has it that Ogiamen's Palace was built about
1130A.D. As a result of the administrative powers vested in Ogiamen's father Evian, there
arose the need to build a house befitting a person of his status. The building has about
twenty rooms embedded in about eight separate court yards. The building has a series of
pitch roofs constructed to provide an impluvia pattern which is open to the sky to allow
ventilation, sunlight, moonlight and rainfall into the court yards. Personal, family and
community shrines and altars are also located within the court yard and other parts of the
buildings. The building apart from the Oba's palace is a significant testament to the
traditional building skill and ingenuity of Benin craftsmen and builders from the 18th century.