Bagamoyo Tourist Attractions
Bagamoyo, meaning 'bury my heart', was the first capital of Tanzania. As the oldest town in the country, Bagamoyo was the last stop for Arab and Indian traders, and Christian missionaries before they headed inland. European explorers such as Burton, Livingstone and Stanley began their journeys in Bagamoyo.The town became the capital of German East Africa from 1887 to 1891. As one of the most important trading ports along the coast of East African, Bagamoyo was also the last stop for slave trading caravans making their way to Zanzibar. The main trading goods were fish, salt and gum until the first half of the 19th C when ivory, tortoise shell and leopard skin became important.This quiet town takes tourists back to the early and mid-19th C as you stroll through the narrow streets or watch the dhows load up at the port. The German cemetery has many graves of Germans killed during the uprising in 1889 to 1890. A coral wall surrounds the cemetery and nearby is a tree believed to be used by the German's for executions. Along Ocean Road, travelers can view some of the most interesting aspects of Bagamoyo including the German boma, a 19th C school, Liku House, the German Customs House as well as the busy port and fish market.The "Fathers of the Holy Ghost" in Bagamoyo set up East Africa's first Catholic mission in 1868. The seaside church was built in 1873.
The Kaole Ruins are a major attraction just south of Bagamoyo. The ruins date back to the 13th C and consist of two mosques and 30 tombs. The older of the two mosques is thought to date to the third or fourth C, making it the oldest mosque on the mainland of East Africa. The mosque provides evidence indicating early contact between Africa and the Islamic world.The tombs at Kaole were built from coral stones with stone pillars that marked some of the tombs. Traditions claim that some of the tombs are the graves of local rulers who were known as diwanis. The claim is that the diwanis were the descendants of the Sheikh Ali Muhamad al-Hatim al-Barawi, the most well known Sheikh along the coast.Kaole was originally settled by Muslims in 740 AD and would have been a trading town. Mangrove poles, sandalwood, ebony and ivory would have been the items to trade. The dwellings of the Kaole people were most likely constructed of wood making them less durable than the stone mosques and tombs.The ruins can be reached on foot by following the beach past Kaole village and in to the mangrove swamps, the stone pillars are quite noticeable and will act as your guide, or visitors can travel the road past the College of Arts.
Holy Ghost Mission
Holy Ghost Mission in Bagamoyo was the first Catholic mission in East Africa. The Church was constructed in 1873 as a simple structure with a tin roof. A stone tower with arches and a cross at the center is located at one corner of the building.On the grounds of Holy Ghost Mission is a memorial, which was built in 1874 at the spot where the body of David Livingstone lay in state. His body was kept here until it was shipped to England for burial.A cemetery, located to the right of the church is where the early missionaries are buried. Freed slaves erected a small shrine in 1876, further down the path from the Holy Ghost Mission.The mission was originally built to house children that had been rescued from slavery but it grew to include the church, a school, and some workshops.
The Old Fort in Bagamoyo is the oldest surviving building in the town as it was started in 1860. Built as a private house by Abdallah Marhabi in 1860, it was taken over by Sutlan Baghash who fortified it after 1870. Also known as the old provision house, a portion of the fort was used to hold slave before being shipped to Zanzibar. An underground passage was used to transport slaves to the dhows on the shore of Bagamoyo.The Germans used the Old Fort as a military camp and the British, as well as others that settled in Bagamoyo, used it as a police post.The whitewashed building is three stories high with buttresses and an enclosed courtyard. It is presently the headquarters of the Department of Antiquities who are working to maintain and restore the ruins in Bagamoyo. The fort can be visited free of charge.
College of Arts
The College of Arts in Bagamoyo is an internationally acclaimed art institute in Tanzania. Traditional Tanzanian painting, sculpture, drama, dancing and drumming is taught.The main buildings include a replica Viking House, traditional African home and a Greek-style open amphitheater. During the week, visitors can observe the students in the workshops or practicing their skills. On the weekends, the students provide free entertainment by performing music, drama or dancing. The teachers at Bagamoyo College of Arts also participate in the various performances.Each year an arts festival is held in Bagamoyo during the last week of September. The festival features workshops, entertainment and performances.
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