In 1498 the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived in Mombasa. The Portuguese were not welcome and therefore decided to head northwards towards Malindi. However, in 1593 they returned to seize Mombasa by force and proceded to build a fort to defend the entrance to the port. Sailing under the flag of the Order of Christ, the name Fort Jesus was a foregone conclusion.
With an angular shape, the fort was designed by Goa, an Italian architect. Its history is quite a turbulent one: it was successively taken over by the Portuguese and then by the Arabs of Oman before being bombed by the British. Finally in 1895, it became a government prison.
Today, within the ramparts, a whole range of cannons line the main building. Here you'll find a small museum with a collection of objects that were found in a sunken ship belonging to the Arabs, as well as fascinating displays and exhibits of Kenyan culture and village life.
Fort Jesus is a fine example of Portuguese military architecture from the 16th century.© Charles Bowman / age fotostock
A group of locals plays a game of football in the shadows of Fort Jesus.© Industry and Travel / 123RF
Fort Jesus became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. Its name derives from the Portuguese fleet which sailed under the flag of the order of Christ.© Industry and Travel / 123RF