Deribe’s Palace in Nigeria: A Monumental Structure Made of Gold
The House of Gold, located in Maiduguri, Nigeria, is a remarkable architectural monument. It has fascinated people worldwide. This home is believed to have been built using a combination involving liquid gold, symbolizing wealth in a nation known for its cultural heritage.
The late Alhaji Ahmed Mai Deribe, born in 1924 and passing away in 2002 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, constructed the House of Gold. It is also known as Deribe’s House or Fadar Deribe’s Palace.
Notably, he was among only twelve individuals globally during the 1980s who owned a custom Gulfstream G550 private jet, putting him in the league of prominent figures like Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, the richest man in Japan, Robert Edward “Ted” Turner, the owner of CNN, and Khalid Ibn Mahfouz of Saudi Arabia.
Deribe’s Palace includes numerous lavish suites and apartments, including sets of four-bedroom homes allocated to his wives. The construction took a decade and cost an astonishing $100 million, with monthly maintenance alone reaching five million naira.
Femi Akinsanya, a renowned architect, skillfully blended traditional Nigerian elements with contemporary grandeur when designing the palace. He drew inspiration from Yoruba architecture, incorporating ornate wooden carvings and intricate patterns to honor both tradition and opulence.
The façade boasts over 100,000 gold-plated tiles, creating a radiant exterior. Inside, each room is extravagantly furnished with ornate furniture, luxurious chandeliers, and valuable artwork.
Commissioned by General Ibrahim Babangida, the palace has hosted prominent world leaders such as Prince Charles, the late Princess Diana, former U.S. President George Washington Bush, and King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
The House of Gold is not just a residence; it’s also a canvas for Nigerian artists and craftsmen, both inside and out. It showcases a curated collection of contemporary Nigerian art, adding to its status as a living work of art.
However, this opulent display of wealth has faced criticism. Some argue that flaunting riches is insensitive in a country where a significant portion of the population grapples with poverty. Others question the sustainability and environmental impact of using such expensive materials.
Nevertheless, the House of Gold serves as a symbol of prosperity, celebrating Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and economic power. It ignites discussions about wealth, culture, and art, showcasing the limitless possibilities of architectural expression in a rapidly evolving world.
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