Dar es Salaam Tourist Attractions
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's major city, the name means 'haven of peace' in Arabic. It began as a small fishing village in 1857 and now Dar es Salaam has 3 million people with a mix of African, Arabic and Indian cultures.Tanzania's main port is found at Dar es Salaam harbor straddling some of the most important sea routes in the world. On the northern section of the harbor is Kivukoni Front, with a bustling fish market, where dhows sail in to offload the night's catch every morning at dawn.The architecture in Dar es Salaam is an eclectic mix of Swahili, German, Asian and British influences. German colonialists organized Dar by arranging a grid pattern of streets fanning out around the port. The German Hospital, the Lutheran Church and St Joseph's Cathedral are several notable structures located on the waterfront.
The National Museum in Dar es Salaam opened in 1940 next to the Botanical Gardens. A new wing was built in front of the old museum in 1963. The museum originally opened in the King George V Memorial Museum, the new wing has his car on display.The Hall of Man contains archeological finds, replicas of rock paintings and a cast of 3.6 million-year-old hominid footprint. The History Gallery, located on the first floor, covers the Kilwa period (9th - 15th C), the (English and German) colonial period, the slave trade, local rebellions, and Independence. The colonial years and anti-colonial struggle are presented through a display of objects, photos and documents. The section on Coastal history features glazed Chinese pottery and copper coins from Kilwa.Ethnographic displays include traditional crafts, head dresses, ornaments and musical instruments. Hunting and gathering, initiation rites, traditional healing and witchcraft are a few other themes; also on view are leather and bark clothing, and a wooden bicycle in working order.The garden area of the National Museum, home to several peacocks, has a sculpture dedicated to the twelve Tanzanians who died in the bombing of the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam. The sculpture, created by Elyn Zimmerman, consists of six geometric forms surrounding a granite-rimmed pool.
Makumbusho Village Museum
Makumbusho Village features traditional homes found in different parts of Tanzania, representing 18 ethnic tribes. Visitors can walk through the homes and watch examples of traditional painting, weaving and carving by artists and craftsmen. The dwellings include furnished huts, cattle pens, and meeting places.The Makumbusho Village Museum holds Ngoma, traditional dances each Thursday and Sunday as well as other cultural activities. The performances include recruits from all over Tanzania. A guide can explain the origin of the dances, which often end with acrobatics.
Other Religious Buildings
St Joseph's Roman Catholic Cathedral was started by missionaries in 1897 and took 5 years to finish. The Gothic style church dominates the harbor with a shingled spire, a vaulted interior and a carved relief above the main altar. The interior of St Joseph's features artwork and original German inscriptions. St Alban's Church is Anglican and was modeled after an Anglican church located in Zanzibar. It was the Governor's church in colonial times.There are several mosques in Dar es Salaam including the Darkhana Jama'at-Khana, on Mosque Street, that stands three stories high with a six-story tower topped with a clock. Ibaddhi Mosque and Memon Mosque are also located on Mosque Street and are covered with stringed lights on religious occasions. Sunni Mosque has an impressive dome and there are two Hindu temples located on Kitsu Street.
The Askari Monument stands on the location of statue to Major Herman Von Wissmann, a German explorer and soldier, who became Governor of German East Africa in 1895. The first statue of Von Wissmann was erected in 1911 to celebrate the German victory in 1888, and then demolished in 1916 when the British occupied Dar es Salaam.The current statue, Askari Monument, is cast in bronze and depicts an askari (soldier) in a World War I uniform, the bayonet of his rifle pointing towards the nearby harbor. The monument commemorates the African troops who fought and died during the 1914-18 conflict. Rudyard Kipling, the famous British writer and poet wrote the inscription that appears in English and Swahili.
The first Director of Agriculture, Professor Stuhlmann, originally laid out the Botanical Gardens in Dar es Salaam in 1893. The newly restored building that houses the Department of Agriculture was built in 1903, by which time the Botanical Gardens were well established.The oasis of indigenous plants has an enchanting mix of flowers and plants including one of the few places in the world to see the coco-de-mer palm tree that is native to Seychelles.The Botanical Gardens also became the home of Dar es Salaam Horticultural Society, which still has a building on site that has undergone some restoration with most of the exhibits now labeled.
The State House was the original residence of the German Governor; built in the late 1890s by Germany. At one time, the State House had tall Islamic-style arches on the ground floor and a veranda with railing on the upper level. Cast-iron columns also supported the roof.In 1914, the British nearly destroyed the building during World War I. In 1922 the State House was rebuilt with similar arches on the ground floor but scalloped arches on the upper level and a tower with a crenellated railing. The style is more in tune with East African architecture. The State House is now the home of the current president and not open to the public.
Karimjee Hall was constructed in 1916 to house the legislative council. The building was presented to Municipality of Dar es Salaam by the Karimjee family and later used as the nation's House of Parliament when Tanzani regained independence in 1961. Karimjee Hall currently houses the City Mayor's Parlor and is used for parliamentary meetings and other functions. It has been used as the venue for many occasions including the swearing in of Julius Nyerere as the country's first president. It is currently closed to the public.
Azania Front Lutheran Church
German missionaries built Azania Front Lutheran Church in 1898. The red-tile belfry rises above the surrounding rooftops and the whitewashed building is still a recognizable landmark in Dar es Salaam. The tiled canopies over the windows provide shade and the gardens are a welcome retreat for weary tourists. The front entrance faces the harbor. At one time Azania was the center of the original 19th C German mission; it is now the cathedral for the diocese.
Old Boma is Dar es Salaam's oldest surviving building; constructed in 1867. Old Boma was built to accommodate the guests of Sultan Seyyid Majid who had a palace located next door. Items to note within Old Boma include a door from Zanzibar and coral walls. Three years after the building was completed, the Sultan Majid died, and the city he had constructed fell into disrepair.