Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction after the Beach. Fort Jesus are located along the coastline near the Old Town. Fort Jesus in Mombasa is a monumental piece of architecture that was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese.
Fort Jesus has a museum that displays various artifacts from the period where Mombasa served as a transit point for the slave trade and commodities, and which enjoyed regular visits by seafarers and the like.
Fort Jesus interior comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded. Weapons such as canons, which were used to defend the fort from invading foreigners as well as rioting locals, can be seen both inside and outside of the fort.
UNESCO has named the Fort Jesus in Mombasa, Kenya, as a World Heritage site. The monument with “exceptional universal value” was added to UNESCO’s list of sites on Monday, June 27.
The United Nations organization described the Fort Jesus as “one of the most notable and best preserved examples of 16th century Portuguese military fortifications and a historic landmark of this type of construction.”
Fort Jesus layout and form, designed by Giovanni Battista Cairati, reflects the Renaissance ideal that perfect proportions and geometric harmony are to be found in the human body.
The Fort was built by the Portuguese between 1593 and 1596 to protect the Indian Ocean port. Fort Jesus was lost and reconquered several times until the Portuguese finally abandoned it in 1729. Between 1837 and 1895 the fort was ocupied first by Oman, followed by Zanzibar, and was used as barracks for soldiers. When the British protectorate was proclaimed on the 1st of July 1895, the Fort was converted into a prison. In 1958, the Fort was declared National Park and became museum in 1962. The property covers an area of 2.36 hectares and includes the fort’s moat and immediate surroundings.
Fort Jesus museum was built with a grant from the Portuguese Gulbenkian Foundation. The exhibits consist of finds from archaeological excavations at Fort Jesus, Gede, Manda, Ungwana and other sites.
Fort Jesus in Mombasa Kenya opens for public viewing in the morning and closes at dusk.