Historical Fiction

A replica of the Palace of the Emir of Katsina

When you think of “mud” buildings, I bet palaces do not come to mind first. This replica of the Palace of the Emir of Katsina is breathtaking. I shared it on tumblr last year and remembered it because it is the season of unbearable heat in Nigeria at the moment. I keep thinking of how cool the interior of adobe buildings are said to be…how they make more sense for our climate than concrete.

All images above are from Afrimod (more photos at the link!), here is what they had to say about the palace

…completed in 1976 by the Court Master Builder as a reference to the glory of ancient Hausa/Fulani city-states in Jos, Nigeria.

The red walls hide modular pieces behind earthen plaster made with red earth from the rivers, usually mixed with grass left in the sun to dry. Inside it is cool without being cool. The skin feels comfort, not coolness and the walls shield you not only from the sun and the heat but the noise. Passageways are arches, ceilings are high and domed yet there is no echo.

It is likely the original palace was painted or otherwise decorate as is usual with Sahelian architecture.


  1. Amazing! Thanks for sharing. Few questions: since these are replica, are there original mud-house buildings and palaces still found in Nigeria from that era? and what had caused the destruction of the original palace of the Emir of Katsina?

    1. Hello there,

      As far as I’m aware, there are still palaces in Northern Nigeria built in the traditional style. I do not have any idea if they are built with mud bricks though. Also not sure what caused the destruction of the original, *runs to research*

      Re: similarities between native American structures and this, that’s certainly a possible. I’ve noticed similarities between indigenous structures across the world. An old friend used to say that drawing on natural motifs may have lead to this.

  2. What shape are the windows? are they T-shaped? The reason I ask is because in old native American structures like Mesa Verde or Chaco Canyon, there are two types of windows/door shapes, one rectangular, and one T-shaped. Could there be similitudes? We also know that the furnace used in native American habitations comes from the Moors via the Spaniards.

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