Colonial Calabar

Colonial buildings are another highlight
of Calabar — from the lovely house above (palace in fact, as noted in the sign to your right) — to the stone church across the street from it. Or the museum below, housed in one of the finest colonial buildings in town.

The Calabar Museum is praised by Lonely Planet as far and away the best museum in Calabar. It really is an excellent and interesting place full of documents and stories from the days when Europeans first decided this was a great place to buy slaves; then, as noted in the sign at right, when the British abolished the slave trade and started actively policing the high seas against slavers, the chiefs and businessmen of Calabar shifted to the palm-oil trade, from which the whole Niger Delta region thrived for many, many long decades. The whole museum is housed in the old British colonial governor’s house high on a bluff above the Cross River, and it’s very easy to imagine the governor and his staff or family sitting up here watching the boats ply their trade on the river below. LP recommends taking a torch (flashlight) since the power’s usually not running; I got a good half-hour in the darkened museum, reading by torchlight, until someone figure out I wasn’t supposed to be there without power and kicked me out. Oh well.

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