A rich cultural melting pot, the Old Town of Mombasa is a port town that was formerly ruled by the Portuguese. Today, most of the current residents here are of Arab, Asian and European origin, and the ancient architecture of the area’s buildings reflects these diverse cultures.
On your visit to Old Town, have your camera ready to capture the narrow, winding streets, bordered by old coral buildings with ornately carved balconies and doors. Many of the buildings have been converted into artisan stores and souvenir shops. Here you can purchase spices, fragrances, oil perfumes, silver jewelry, antiques, beaded sandals, small furniture items and trinkets, as souvenirs to remember your visit.
The most popular attraction in Old Town is Fort Jesus which was constructed by the Portuguese in 1593. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fort Jesus offers a fine example of 16th century Portuguese military architecture. History buffs will find their niche among the fascinating battlements and derelict buildings. Visitors can also enjoy the collection of ancient pottery and ceramics. At the Omani house you can see beautiful displays of Omani jewelry and Swahili cultural exhibits.
After your sightseeing tour, stop by one of the numerous little eateries to refuel with a delicious meal. At the popular Jahazi Coffee House you can enjoy an authentic Swahili experience, with tasty snacks and a refreshing cup of spiced coffee or tea.
There’s never a dull moment for travelers who venture into the Old Town of Mombasa. You can spend hours here strolling around the ambient alleyways, snacking at little cafes and shopping for souvenirs. But navigating the small alleyways of the Old Town without a tour guide can be difficult as they all look alike. Tours are available with friendly local guides to lead you to the best spots in Mombasa’s Old Town.
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