Tanzania is dotted with ancient forts, which represent its rich historic pasts and each fort has a unique story to tell. They stand as remarkable reminders of bravery, war, and politics. In the olden days, the forts were used as safe havens from the adversary by the colonial entities. The Tanzanian forts are architectural masterpieces built many years ago but stand the test of time and still maintain their beauty. We present to you the top four old forts of Tanzania:
Old Fort of Zanzibar
Also known as the Arab Fort, the Old Fort of Zanzibar is a massive fort located in Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Zanzibar. Built in the 17th Century, it’s one of the oldest buildings in East Africa. The Old Fort is known as “Ngome Kongwe” in Swahili, and it’s one of the most popular attractions on the island. During the colonial era, the fort protected the city from the enemy and was later used as a prison. Today, it has been transformed into a cultural centre which showcases the history and culture of the city. There’s also an open-air theatre inside the Old Fort, where music and dance performances, and other interesting events are showcased. The fort houses a restaurant and variety of shops, where you can purchase souvenirs for your friends and family.
The Fort of Kilwa Kisiwani
Nestled along the coast of Tanzania, a short boat drive from the mainland, the Fort of Kilwa Kisiwani is one of the oldest forts in East Africa. It was built in 1505 by the Portuguese and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Kilwa Kisiwani as once the East Africa’s most popular trading post along the coast. It featured majestic architecture, surrounded by towers and a wall, and lush vegetation. Today, it has been completely abandoned and it stands in ruins, but it’s well-preserved with one side of the building facing the ocean, and the other side facing the mainland. With its captivating ensembles of ruins, the fort of Kilwa Kisiwani is renowned for its historical and architectural importance. Explore the captivating history of Kilwas and learn about the amazing affluence the fort once had.
The Old Fort of Bagamoyo
The Old Fort was the first stone structure built in the Old Town of Bagamoyo by the Baluchi Indian A.S. Marhabi, an Arab trader who used it as a trading place for his merchandise. It was then handed over to Omani Arab Sultan Bargash who protected it but was taken over by the German East Africa colonial rulers during their tenure to defend the East African coast.
The Germans renovated the building, converted it from two-storey to a three-story building, and built a wall around it. After World War 1, the British took over the fort and transformed it into a prison. After the independence, the fort became a police station before it was finally converted into a historical site.
Today, the Old Fort showcases the history of Bagamoyo town, the culture, and its people.
Ikoma Fort, Serengeti
Ikoma Fort is an old fort built by the German soldiers during the colonial era.
The fort was used as the administrative centre by the Germans before the British took over. The old fort is magnificently set on the edge of Rift Valley escarpment and surrounded by a wide variety of wildlife species.
It’s located south of Nyugati and northwest of Nabati Hill and Robanda. Due to its location, the fort has beautiful features and several rooms to explore.
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