Nestled on a coral ridge near Mombasa’s harbor, Fort Jesus was constructed to guard Portuguese interests along the Swahili Coast. It has been a significant part of the area’s history, changing hands multiple times over the years. In 1696, the fort was put to the test when it was besieged by the Omani Arabs for two long years, leading to the end of Portuguese control in the region. After being controlled by local powers and then the British in 1895, Fort Jesus is now considered a vital piece of Kenya’s cultural heritage and a must-visit destination for tourists.
Stepping inside Fort Jesus is like traveling back in time. The fort boasts numerous watchtowers and sentry posts, surrounded by sturdy stone walls, contrasting the bustling streets of Mombasa. Visitors can admire the fort’s original Portuguese design, including the chapel, barracks, and dungeons. They can also discover its captivating history through interactive exhibits and displays.
The walls are adorned with incredible carvings and frescoes, and you’ll feel surrounded by beautiful sculptures and architectural elements. The museum inside is also a treasure trove of history, with artefacts like weapons, coins, and other items that give you a glimpse into what life was like in the fort during its prime.
But Fort Jesus isn’t just a history lesson. It’s also a peaceful retreat, perfect for taking a break from the hustle and bustle of Mombasa. Whether you want to picnic, soak up the sun, or enjoy the views, Fort Jesus has plenty to offer.
Fort Jesus not only holds historical significance, but it’s also a hub of cultural activity. It’s home to various research programs, including a Conservation Lab, Education Department, and Old Town Conservation Office. These facilities help preserve and showcase Mombasa’s rich cultural heritage and surrounding areas. When you visit the fort, you get the opportunity to not only learn about its fascinating history but also see how hard people are working to protect and promote the region’s cultural heritage.
If you’re visiting Mombasa, we highly recommend combining your visit to Fort Jesus with a stroll through the nearby Mombasa Old Town. This charming historic district is known for its charming streets, bustling bazaars, and stunning architecture. By exploring both Fort Jesus and Mombasa Old Town, you’ll get a complete picture of Mombasa’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
Fort Jesus also hosts a light show from Thursday to Sunday nights. This experience provides a unique way to experience the fort’s history and architecture, as the building is beautifully illuminated and comes alive with colors and patterns. The light show is accompanied by an audio guide that provides an overview of the fort’s history, making it a fascinating and educational experience. The light show is an excellent opportunity to capture photos of the fort in its full glory and provides a memorable end to a day of exploring Mombasa’s rich cultural heritage.
Admission Fee For Fort Jesus
Fort Jesus has an admission fee, whereas the Old Town is free for visitors.
Price: Entry fee USD$ 10.00 for non-residents and residents, KSH 200 for adults KSH 100 for children.
Grown-ups: KES 1,000
Hours: Thursday to Sunday 6.45 PM
Contact: Call 0726520759
When visiting the Old Town and Fort Jesus, it is important to keep the following things in mind:
- Dress modestly, as the area is predominantly Muslim.
- Consider hiring a guide to help you understand the area and its history.
- Be aware of your surroundings and do not flaunt expensive items.
- Show respect to the local community and ask for permission before taking photos of people.
- Be environmentally conscious, carry your trash with you, and dispose of it properly.
- Look out for the white plates with more information about the area of interest on the walls.
- Most importantly, enjoy your visit and take in all the rich history and culture the Old Town offers.