Ancient ruins in Tanzania

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When on safari in Tanzania, visit the incredible ancient ruins built by ancient civilisations thousands of years ago. They have withstood the test of time, and travellers marvel at their beauty. These ruins include:

  • Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins
  • Kaole Ruins
  • Tongoni Ruins
  • Mbweni Ruins
  • The Old Fort

Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins

Kiliwa Kisiwani Ruins are popular ancient ruins located about 300km south of Dar es Salaam. Kilwa Kisiwani town was once considered as the biggest and most powerful city on the East African Coast. Now, it stands in ruins, its pathways, grand palaces and majestic mosques completely abandoned, stripped of their former beauty making the town one of the most striking ancient ruins in Tanzania.

Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins in Tanzania

Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins in Tanzania.

Kaole Ruins

The Kaole Ruins, located about 5km from Bagamoyo Town close to the Indian Ocean Coast are also on the list of popular ancient ruins in Tanzania. Kaole Ruins are the remains of a Shirazi trading town of the 13th Century. The ruins consist of two mosques and several tombs. This site is said to be home to the first mosques in East Africa. In addition to the ruins, there is a small museum containing some very interesting artefacts and information about the Kaole Ruins site.

Tongoni Ruins

Located 17km south of Tanga City are Tongoni Ruins. Tongoni Town was once a trading town along the coast with trade relations with Arabs, Indians and Chinese. After the disruption by the Portuguese, Togoni Town was deserted. Tongoni Ruins comprises of a mosque and nearly forty graves of which about half are 14th and 15th Century pillar tombs, making it the largest collection of Shiraz tombs along the coast of East Africa. The remains also indicate the prosperity the town enjoyed before the arrival of the Portuguese.

Tongoni Town was once a trading town in Tanzania

Tongoni Town was a trading town.

Mbweni Ruins

Mbweni Ruins were once St. Mary’s School for freed slave girls, built between 1871 and 1874. The ruins are located 7km from Zanzibar Town. When slaves were freed by the British from illegal dhow traders, a village of freed slaves developed. Orphaned girls and daughters of the freed slaves attended the school which comprised of dormitory quarters, classrooms, a chapel and, later, an industrial area. After the school’s closure, only ruins remain.

The Old Fort

Old Fort is regarded as the oldest building in the town

Old Fort is regarded as the oldest building in the town.

Another set of ancient ruins in Tanzania is located in Stone Town’s sea front and it is regarded as the oldest building in the town. The old Fort was used built as a defensive structure by the Arabs when they seized it from the Portuguese in 1968. It was also used as a prison where criminals were executed or punished. Today, the fort is used as a cultural centre where Zanzibar traditional cooking, drama and music performances are conducted in the open theatre.


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