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Kilwa

Kilwa

Along the southern coast of Tanzania, the ancient ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani give themselves slowly to the encroaching jungle and the relentless cycles of the tide. Once the very epicentre of Swahili culture and civilization, all that is left of Kilwa Kisiwani are the old building blocks of the town — fire baked limestone, coral blocks, and a few shattered tiles. Nothing else remains except the lush coconuts and old trees that give witness to habitation many years ago.

The ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani were once the centre of trade along the entire East African coast and the driving force behind the complex networks of trade caravans and dhow expeditions that encouraged the Swahili to thrive and prosper.

During its heyday in the 13th to 15th century, trade with Sofala in Mozambique, India to the east, and Arabia to the north propelled Kilwa’s fortunes to unbelievable heights. Together with the nearby ruins of Songo Mnara, archaeologists and historians consider Kilwa as one of the most important sites of Swahili civilization in the region.

The coral and limestone walls of the old mosque, sultans’ palaces, and merchants’ houses are all the more sumptuous in their rather dilapidated state. The fig tree roots weave in and out of old windows and the rustle of the ocean palms are never far away.

Contact Information

Contacting us by post Tanzania Tourist Board
IPS Building, 3rd Floor
P.O.Box 2485
Dar-es-Salaam
Tanzania.
Contacting us by email info@tanzaniatourism.go.tz
Contacting us by telephone
General +255 22 2111244/5
Marketing 2111345
Tourism Services 2128472
Mobile +255 788420050
+255 755430050
Contacting us by fax +255 22 2116420

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