Wednesday, February 10, 2010



The Fort Jesus is located in Mombasa Island which is in the Coast province of Kenya. It lies a distance of about 490-km from Nairobi city.

The Portuguese built Fort Jesus in 1593. The site chosen was a coral ridge at the entrance to the harbor. The Fort was designed by an Italian Architect and Engineer, Joao, Batista Cairato. The earliest known plan of the Fort is in a manuscript Atlas by Manuel Godinho de Heredia - dated 1610 which shows the original layout of the buildings inside the Fort.

Portuguese drawings Fort Jesus, Mombasa

Fort Jesus was built to secure the safety of Portuguese living on the East Coast of Africa. It has had a long history of hostilities of the interested parties that used to live in Mombasa. Perhaps no Fort in Africa has experienced such turbulence as Fort Jesus. Omani Arabs attacked the Fort from 1696 to 1698. The state of the Fort can be understood from the plan of Rezende of 1636 and other plans by Don Alvaro? Marquis of Cienfuegas and Jose? Lopes de Sa - made during the brief reoccupation by the Portuguese in 1728 - 1729. In the Cienfuegas plan, the names of the bastions are changed.

Fort Jesus Barracks, Mombasa

Between 1837 and 1895, the Fort was used as barracks for the soldiers. When the British protectorate was proclaimed on the 1st of July 1895, the Fort was converted into a prison. The huts were removed and cells were built. On the 24th October 1958, Fort Jesus was declared a National Park in the custody of the Trustees of the Kenya National Parks. Excavation was carried out and the Fort became a Museum in 1962. The Fort is now an important historical landmark in the East African region.

Fort Jesus MuseumThe Fort Jesus museum was built with a grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation. The exhibits consist of finds from archaeological excavations at Fort Jesus, Gede, Manda, Ungwana and other sites. Other objects on display were donated by individuals notably Mrs. J.C. White, Mr. C.E. Whitton and Mrs. W.S. Marchant. The Fort has lived through the years of hostilities and a hush climate and is structurally well - maintained.
Source: National Museums of Kenya


Fort Jesus is a Portuguese fort built in 1593 by order of King Philip II of Spain ( King Philip I of Portugal ), then ruler of the joint Portuguese and Spanish Kingdoms, located on Mombasa Island to guard the Old Port of Mombasa, Kenya. It was built in the shape of a man (viewed from the air), and was given the name of Jesus, after Shaikh Isa Bin Tarif Al Bin Ali Al Utbi conquered the fort in 1837 after being asked for assistance by Sayyid Said Bin Sultan , Sultan of Oman . The name Jesus in Arabic means Isa, therefore it means the Fort of Isa ( Isa Bin Tarif ). Isa Bin Tarif , Chief of the Al Bin Ali Al Utbi Tribe , is a descendant of the original uttoobee conquerors of Bahrain . The Al Bin Ali were a politically important group that moved backwards and forwards between Qatar and Bahrain, they were the original dominant group of Zubara area , they were also known for their courage, persistence, and abundant wealth.

Magical Kenya

VIDEO The Fort Jesus Experience in Mombasa Kenya


David Adam Brown said...

totally awesome

Makeyna said...

You wouldn't have nailed it any better. Fort Jesus still remains one of Kenya's best treasures and its rich history. There is a similar story at Thanks for sharing.