The burial place of the legendary and biblical Queen of Sheba, locally known among Yoruba people as Bilikisu Sungbo, has turned a place of worship and tourism in Nigeria.
Millions of people visit annually from different parts of the world to share the mystery surrounding Bilikisu Sungbo grave-turned-shrine located in Oke-Eri, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria.
The historical queen, Bilikisu Sungbo, was said to have traveled all the way from Ethiopia down to Ijebu-Ode where she died and was buried. The natives of Ijebu-Ode hold strong and popular claims about the identity of the controversial Bilikisu Sungbo. They claimed that she was the Queen of Sheba mentioned in the bible to have visited the wise king Solomon at height of his powers.
They also claimed that Bilikisu Sungbo was the Quranic Queen Baliqs of Ethopia (from which the name Bilikisu was derived) who visited king Sulaiman. Another source has it that Bilikisu Sungbo was a wealthy woman and the leader of a group of women potters who traveled to far away places.
Also, she was believed to possess supernatural powers with which she dug ditches around villages in Ijebu-Ode.
Howbeit, the tradition of the Ijebu people forbid women and dogs to visit the spot where Bilikisu Sungbo was buried. At the shrine, there is a small open ground with no grass growing on it. This place is said to be the place where the ancient queen was washed before being buried, and because of her supernatural powers, no plant or grass can ever grow on the spot.
In 1995, Bilikisu Sungbo’s shrine was added to the cultural category of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bilikisu Sungbo ‘grave-shrine’ will forever remain a pride of Ijebu-Ode people.
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