Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania

Type: Cultural site

Kilwa Kisiwani is located on the southern coast of Tanzania and 300Km south of Dar es Salaam. The site has a rich history of Tanzania and the Ancient Kilwa Kingdom that encompassed present day Kilwa archipelago and several parts of Tanzania coast line.

The twin island of Songo Mnara, Kilwa Kisiwani is recognized by United Nations Scientific and Educational Organization (UNESCO) as a world heritage site, known for its rich history and Swahili cultural heritage, which is a blend of African and Arabic cultures.

Kiliwa Kisiwani was the most famous town where early Arab trading took place in the East African coast. The ancient buildings found here were constructed with coral stones mixed with limestone materials which had made them beautiful and stable enough to survive the weather.

The weather is characterized by humid and hot temperatures

As a trading center, the island controlled trade in East Africa with the Arabs, Indians and Chinese between the 13th and 16th centuries. Items that were traded included: gold and ivory from Tanzania and Congo were traded for silver, carnelians, perfumes, Persian faience and Chinese porcelain.

Silver, carnelians, perfumes, Persian faience and Chinese porcelain were the leading trading goods between Kilwa Kisiwani, Oman, China and Persia (Iran).

Ancient mosques built in the 13th and 18th centuries and a Portuguese Fort cannot go unnoticed in the island. The Great Mosque of Kilwa was the largest mosque of its kind in East Africa. The mosque accommodates two mosques, all constructed in 11th century. The beautiful fort was used as a garrison by the Arabs and Germans to punish Africans.


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