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Island of Mozambique

MozambiqueNorthIlha de Mozambique


Island of Mozambique 

Mozambique's fortified city, a former Portuguese trading port on the road to India, is located on this island. Its extraordinary architectural unity is owing to the usage of the same building techniques, building materials (stone or macuti), and decorative principles from the 16th century.

The Island of Mozambique is a calcareous coral reef located 4 kilometers from the mainland shore at the entrance to the Indian Ocean's Mossuril Bay in the Republic of Mozambique's Nampula Province. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge erected in the 1960s. To the east, two small deserted islands, the Islands of Goa and Sena, create an archipelago.

Because the island played a unique role in transcontinental commerce linkages beginning in the 10th century, the island communities are inextricably linked to the history of sailing in the Indian Ocean. The development and creation of Portuguese maritime channels between Western Europe and the Indian subcontinent are of international historical significance.

Mozambique's island includes two distinct forms of housing and urban structures. In the north, a Swahili stone and lime town with Arab and European influences, and in the south, a macuti town (city of roofed palm leaves) with traditional African architecture. The administrative and economic holdings of the stone and lime town served as the first seat of the Portuguese colonial authority, which lasted from 1507 to 1898. Following that, the capital was moved to Lourenço Marques, presently Maputo. The urban fabric and fortifications of Mozambique Island are outstanding examples of architecture and construction techniques originating from cultural diversity and interactions between people of Bantu, Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian, and European ancestry.

The island's extraordinary architectural coherence is the result of the continuous employment of the same building techniques, materials, and decorative concepts. The oldest intact fortification on the island (St. Sebastian, 1558-1620), as well as other defensive structures and countless ecclesiastical structures, are all part of the island's patrimony (including many from the 16th century).

The Island of Mozambique was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

(Source UNESCO)


  • MozambiqueNorthIlha de Mozambique

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