Fort Jesus (Mombasa, Kenya)

Fort Jesus (Mombasa Old Port, Kenya)

Located in Mombasa Island in Kenya, the Fort Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as most visited site in the world. It was built between 1593 and 1596 by the King Philip of Portugal to protect the port against Arab invaders and African pirates. Later it served as the Portuguese headquarters in establishing influence in this part of the Indian Ocean and over the sea trade. The fort is still maintained by the Portuguese.

About Fort Jesus

Fort Jesus was designed by Italian Joao Batista Cairato, who was inspired by Italian architect Pietro Cataneo, and it was his last overseas work. The design is an example of Renaissance architecture, but the building materials, labor and masonry techniques were provided by local Swahili people.

The fort is roughly square equipped with four bulwarks at the corners. Aerial view reveals the design has shape of a man and it is considered as masterpiece of late Renaissance military fortification.

UNESCO ranks it as one of the most outstanding examples of the 16th-century Portuguese military fortifications. It is well-preserved too. In 1958 the fort was declared as a national park.


History Of Fort Jesus

Between 1631 and 1895 the fort was captured as well as recaptured more than nine times. The Sultan of Mombasa captured it from the Portuguese first and then again lost it to the Portuguese. In 1995 the British overtook it and converted the fort into a prison. It was a vital possession to control Mombasa Island or the Indian Ocean trade.

Architect Of Fort Jesus

A rough sketch of the fort looks like a person is lying on his back and head towards the sea. During the building up the walls were 15 meters high, but the Arabs ]increased the height to 18 feet after capturing it. Cannons of both British and Portuguese are still preserved and is learned the Portuguese cannons were longer than the British cannons. Throughout the fort one can find the Muslim tradition of five pillars. The former meeting halls have five stone pillars to the ceiling. Oman House, open water cistern for harvesting rain water and a 76-foot deep well are few of the historical structures to see.

Fort Jesus (Kenyan capital Mombasa)

How To Get To Fort Jesus

Train service is available from Mombasa city at regular intervals. One can also take a bus from Kanisani bus stop or market bus stop.

Where is Fort Jesus

Fort Jesus is on Nkrumah Road, near the 16th century old port in Mombasa, Kenya, on the Swahili Coast of Indian Ocean.

Fort Jesus These Days

These days the Mombasa Fort Jesus is famous among foreign tourists. It is one of the most important destinations for people visiting Kenya. It is important as a host too for several research programs, an Education Department, a Conservation Lab, and an Old Town Conservation Office.

What Not To Miss

Don’t miss the ancient wall paintings of soldiers in armor, fish, chameleons and ships at the museum.

Don’t miss the lightweight show that describes the turbulent past of the fort.