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Fort Jesus, Mombasa
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 1593-1596
Date of Inscription: 2011
Location: Africa, Kenya, Mombasa
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Description: The Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1593-1596 to the designs of Giovanni Battista Cairati to protect the port of Mombasa, is one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th Portuguese military fortification and a landmark in the history of this type of construction. The Fort's layout and form reflected the Renaissance ideal that perfect proportions and geometric harmony are to be found in the human body. The property covers an area of 2.36 hectares and includes the fort's moat and immediate surroundings. --WHMNet's description is from WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Fort Jesus is a Portuguese fort built in 1593 by order of King Philip I of Portugal (King Philip II of Spain), then ruler of the joint Portuguese and Spanish Kingdoms, located on Mombasa Island to guard the Old Port of Mombasa, Kenya. It was built in the shape of a man (viewed from the air), and was given the name of Jesus. In 2011, the fort was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, highlighted as one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th century Portuguese military fortifications. Between 1631 and 1875 the fort was won and lost nine times by the nations contesting control of Mombasa. It was declared a historical monument in 1958. Today it houses a museum. The fort was designed by a Milanese architect, Giovanni Battista Cairati, who was the Chief Architect for Portuguese possessions in the East. It was the first European-style fort constructed outside of Europe designed to resist cannon fire. Today, it is one of the finest examples of 16th century Portuguese military architecture, which has been influenced and changed by both the Omani Arabs and the British.[3] The fort quickly became a vital possession for anyone with the intention of controlling Mombasa Island or the surrounding areas of trade. When the British colonised Kenya, they used it as a prison, until 1958, when they converted it into a historical monument. James Kirkman was then assigned to excavate the monument, which he did (with a large use of external historical documents) from 1958 to 1971. The fort was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2011. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center ( 2. Wikipedia.
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