Menu NEMO
Menu NEMO

Kilwa

KILWA

KILWA KISIWANI AND SONGO MNARA

On two neighboring islands, both close to the Tanzanian coast, about 300 km south of Dar es Salaam, stand the remains of two port cities, Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara. The widest, Kilwa Kisiwani, was occupied from the eleventh to the nineteenth century and reached the peak of its prosperity in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In 1331-1332, the great traveler Ibn Battuta stopped there and described Kilwa as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Kilwa

Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara were two Swahili trading cities that drew their prosperity of the control of maritime trade in the Indian Ocean with Arabia, India and China, especially between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries when gold and ivory from the hinterland were exchanged against silver, cornelian, perfumes, Persian earthenware and Chinese porcelain. Kilwa Kisiwani struck its own currency from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. In the sixteenth century, the Portuguese built a fort at Kilwa Kisiwani, initiating the decline of the two islands.

Discover More

Menu NEMO