Paté is the largest of the Lamu islands with a number of historical sites. Paté was originally settled in the 7th C by an Arabic colony. The island is surrounded by mangrove swamp and can only be reached at high tide.There are many ruins on Paté Island but the most spectacular is the fort at Siyu. Other highlights include overgrown tombs and ruined mosques.Paté town is an interesting maze of winding alleys and three-story homes. Founded in the 9th C, Paté became a center of trade and learning. The outskirts of town are outlined by a set of ruined medieval walls belonging to Nabahani. Tobacco has been planted among the ruins but houses, mosques and tombs are visible. Even though Nabahani has not yet been excavated, pottery and household objects can be seen in the interiors of many of the buildings.Faza is another settlement that should not be missed. The town was destroyed in 1587 and later resettled.
Shanga was a large Swahili town approximately 1000 years old, occupied between the 8th and 14th C. Located on the south coast of Paté Island; Shanga is best visited with a guide as the undergrowth inhibits many travelers.The Shanga Ruins contain the remains of coral walls, two palaces, three mosques and a cemetery outside the walls with hundreds of tombs. A white pillar tomb is one of the first remains to be seen but the large Friday mosque and another mosque near the sea are also quite obvious.Local legend says that the town was settled by Chinese traders from Shanghai - thus the name of Shanga. Chinese pottery has been found among the ruins to support this story.
Faza dates back to the 13th C, when it was almost destroyed by the Paté army. It was resettled and then dealt the same blow in 1587 by the Portugese. Faza is now a modern town and the central administrative center for Paté Island.The ruined Kunjanja Mosque in Faza features a carved mihrab and some Arabic inscriptions. The tomb of Amir Hamad, who met his death in 1844, is located outside the town. Hamad was the commander-in-chief of the sultan of Zanzibar's forces.The ruin of Mbwarashally Mosque, also known as the Shala Fatani Mosque, is also located in Faza.
Siyu was founded in the 15th C and was well known as a center for Islamic learning. At one time it was the largest settlement on the island with over 30,000 residents.A 19th C fortress, located on the waterfront, has been restored to its former glory. The Siyu Fort was built by the Omani Arabs to subdue the residents of Siyu but they resisted. Inside the fort are many Swahili relics.On the outskirts of Siyu are a number of imposing tombs including a large domed tomb with porcelain niches dating from 1853.
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