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Historical Sites In Tanzania

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Kaole Ruins

kaole ruins The Kaole ruins, (3miles) south of Bagamoyo, are worth visiting. The caretaker has worked at the site since the excavations were undertaken in the late 1950s and has a wealth of enthusiasm and knowledge to share. Twenty-two graves featuring intricate designs, as well as a mosque dating from the 13th to the 15th centuries, are accessible to visitors. External steps at the mosque site were probably used by the muezzin as he called the faithful to prayer. The mihrab (an alcove indicating the direction for Mecca) is remarkably well preserved, although the ceiling of the building collapsed long ago. A well is also on site, which was used to provide water for foot baths. It still contains water and the washing basin is visible. These old Shirazi ruins reveal the construction process used when the town of Kaole was being built. The processing of sand, coral and lime is lengthy but it produces a cementing material that has certainly withstood the test of time. Also at the site is an old shirazi house and, 300 yards away, a second mosque. A fee is payable to the caretaker.


Kunduchi Ruins

The extraordinary Kunduchi Ruins lie 22 km north of Dar es Salaam . Reputed to be some of the most exceptional examples of 18th and 19th century arabic tombs on the Eastern coastal shores, Kunduchi has a unique feel about it. Several grave sites have distinctive coral stone pillars or large, ornately carved coral stone tombs inset with decorative Chinese celadon and blue and white porcelain bowls. Different theories attempt to explain the presence of the porcelain, one of which suggests that the bowls were purely decorative. Another puts forwad the idea that they are indicators of the deceased's wealth and standing in the community. Kunduchi is one of the last sites where many of the bowls are intact. If you plan to visit the ruins, you need to stop at the Mtongani police station and pick up an escort. To reach the ruins, drive into Kunduchi village and turn left at the big baobab.

National Museum

Situated at the corner of the Sokoine Drive and Shaaban Robert Street, is well worth a visit for a look at Tanzania's archaeological history. Displays include the famous excavated finds from Olduvai Gorge as well as African, Arab, Oriental, German, and British artefacts.

Askari Monument

At the corner of Samora Machel Avenue and Maktaba Street. This was once the site of a German monument to Commissioner Herman von Wissman, who played a key role in German development in Dar es Salaam. The askari, or soldier, now standing with rifle at the ready, commemorates the African soldiers who lost their lives while serving in World War I.

Arusha's national natural historic Museum

Situated near the Arusha International conference centre, the museum is housed in a boma with a garrison built around 1900 by the Germans. Although rather a small museum, it contains information on the evolution of man based on digs undertaken throughout East Africa.

Tongoni Ruins in Tanga

The tombs- over 40 of them -and mosque site are estimated to be 600 years old. An ancient sacred feeling emanates from the coral stone structures. The pillars, mihrab and foot basin indicate where the old Shirazi mosque stood, and the tombs and pillars shows traces of the rich number of oriental bowls and fine relief work that were once set in the stone . A caretaker is on site although he has limited knowledge of the area, but visitors are free to enjoy the site on their own.

Mikindani in Mtwara

Mikindani, 11 kilometers to the west of Mtwara on the Mtwara-Lindi road, is a tiny attractive town, with an interesting history. There is an old slave market and a fort dating from the German period. Mikindani was also a port from which Livingstone departed on his final journey to the interior in 1867. The fort, built in 1895 is being renovated to house a museum, accommodation and shops. The slave market is also slated for rehabilitation. The prison ruins are opposite the jetty.
Not far is a large, hollow baobab tree that was once used to keep unruly prisoners in solitary confinement.

Kilwa in Lindi

Kilwa is a group of three settlements situated on a mangrove-fringed bay, which is dotted with numerous small islands. As sanctuary to the ruins of the 13th century city of the Shirazi civilisation, the town commands exceptional historical interest. The things below can be seen there.
Great House: This is said to have been the residence of the Sultan and remains of one of the sultans are said to reside in one of the four graves found within its walls.

Small Domed Mosque: Perhaps the best preserved of all the old buildings in Kilwa. It is an ornamental structure adorned with beautiful domes situated about 150 metres southwest of the Great House.

House of Portico: There are portico steps on three of its sides from where it derives its name.

Makutini Palace: This large fortified building is believed to date from the 15th century. Within the complex is the grave of one of the sultans.

Jangwani Mosque: This mosque was unique in that it had ablution water jars set into its walls just inside the main entrance.

Malindi Mosque: This mosque is said to have been built and used by migrants from Malindi on the Kenya coast.

Kilwa Kisiwani: Dhows anchored at the harbour at Kilwa Masoko take you across the two-kilometre channel. It is necessary to get a permit from the district authorities to visit the site.

Gereza Fort: The original Gereza was built in the 14th century. The Omani Arabs built the one that stands today in the 19th century on the same site on the orders of the Imam of Muscat.

Great Mosque: This mosque is said to have been built in the 12th century. It is however probably the largest of this period on the East Coast. It was excavated between 1958 and 1960 and parts of it have since been reconstructed.

Husuni Kubwa: It is considered to be the largest pre-European building in Equatorial Africa.

Husuni Ndogo: Akin to Husuni Kubwa, this building is said to have been constructed in the 15th century. It is separated from the latter by a small gully.

Kilwa Kivinje: This historical trading centre is 29 kilometres north of Kilwa Masoko and can be reached by commuter buses heading for Manguruturu.

Last Updated on Tuesday 8th December 2009