Fort Jesus positioned in Mombasa Kenya is one of the Africa Safari man made attractions with rich history and heritage. The Fort is noted to have been constructed between 1593 and 1596 on the orders of King Philip I of Portugal with the intention of guarding the Old Port of Mombasa.
Fort Jesus was built featuring the shape of a man when viewed from the Air and it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2011 as among the most outstanding well preserved features of the Portuguese Military fortifications in the 16th Century increasing its significance in the East African Safari tour product portfolio.
From 1631 to 1875, Fort Jesus is noted to have been won and lost nine (9) times by the Imperialist nations that contested to gain control of Kenya. In 1958, the site was considered a historical monument. The remarkable architecture was designed by Giovanni Battista Cairati who was the head Architect of all the possessions of the Portuguese in the East and Fort Jesus is recorded to be the initial European style fort that was built outside Europe with the capacity to resist the cannon fire.
Its Military significance made it a center of contest by the Imperialist forces as it would provide a perfect base for administration of Kenyan coast. The British used the Fort as a prison up to 1958 when it was turned into a historical monument. The monument excavation was headed by James Kirkman from 1958 to 1971.
Fort Jesus walls rise to 18meters following the addition of 3meters by the Oman on top of the 15 meters originally set by the Portuguese. This shows that the Fort features the influence of various nations that took control of it especially the Portugal, Oman and Britain. The Portuguese along with the British are represented by their relevant cannons of 200meters and 300meters respectively while the Oman Arabs are represented by the Koran inscriptions displayed on ceiling beams and wooden door posts. The 5 pillars Muslim tradition is also showcased around the Fort including the pillars of the former meeting halls.
Apparently, Fort Jesus features a range of the historical features including the Oman House – the former Sultan’s house, 76 foot deep well dug by the Arabs and Open water cistern that was set up by the Portuguese to harvest rain water. It is now a host to a Conservation Lab, a range of research programmes, Old Town Conservation Office and an Education Department.
Travelers on Safaris in Uganda Africa can explore the Fort Jesus as an extension to Mombasa. The combined Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania Safaris are also ideal points from which such amazing sites can be explored.