The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Island of Mozambique - Mozambique

Map showing the location of the Island of Mozambique UNESCO world heritage site

Website Category: European Colonial Influences  

Area: unknown 

Inscribed: 1991

Criteria:  (iv)  icon of an era (vi)  association with belief system

Location and Values:  The Island of Mozambique is located in northern Mozambique, near the port of Nacala.  It is approximately 2.5 km long and 300 m wide and connected to the mainland by a 1.5 km-long causeway.  Discovered by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1498, it became an important port-of-call on the sea route to India. A Portuguese fort was established here in 1507, and work on a much bigger one, Fort St Sebastian was begun in 1558.  Mozambique Island grew in importance, serving as the capital of the Portuguese colony of Mozambique until it was moved to Maputo in 1898.  The fort remains the island’s single most important historical monument, but the ensemble of Portuguese colonial architecture that constitutes the stone-built (northern) half of the island testifies to the historical importance of the island for more than 400 years.


 Slideshow of the Island Of Mozambique:


Slideshow Description of the Island Of Mozambique:   The slideshow is one of the most extensive in this world heritage site collection, featuring 75 photos.  It begins with the small Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Baluarte, the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere (built in 1522).  The Chapel is now incorporated into the fortifications of the enormous Fort San Sebastian.  Most of the photos show buildings and features of the ‘permanent’ stone-built town of the Portuguese, which occupies the northern half of the island, including the governor’s Palace, the Church of Misericordia, the old customs house and hospital.  There are also pictures of the more temporary makuti (palm-thatch) structures of the southern sector, as well as scenes of contemporary life, local people and their boats.

Google Earth View:  To view satellite imagery of the Island of Mozambique on Google Earth, click here.  This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing other world heritage sites around Africa.

Mozambique Island Official Visitor's Guide, Maps and History


Mozambique Island Official Visitor Guide & History:  A lavishly illustrated visitor guide, explaining the history and present-day sights of Mozambique Island, produced by Mozambique's Ministry of Education and Culture (with support from the Government of Portugal) can be downloaded by clicking here.  The Visitor Guide includes interesting maps, comparing the island in its early years as a Portuguese settlement (in 1754) with the layout, buildings and monuments seen today.


Links to other places featuring European colonial influences:  Kunta Kinteh Ghana Forts  I  Fort Jesus  I  Essaouira  I  Mazagan  I  Goree Saint-Louis  I  Robben IslandCidade Velha I Asmara Modernist City 


Other Links:     Official UNESCO Site Details  I  World Monuments Fund


Formerly the Jesuit College of Sao Paulo, this impressive red building is the only remaining 17th-century building in the stone town of the Island of Mozambique UNESCO world heritage siteThe governor's palace on the Island of Mozambique UNESCO world heritage site, which now serves as a museumThe Church of Nossa Senhora Baluarte lies within the Fortress of Sao Sebastao on the Island of Mozambique UNESCO world heritage siteFortifications of the Portuguese colonial Fortress of Sao Sebastao on the Island of Mozambique UNESCO world heritage site



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