Fort Jesus

Fort Jesus
Photo by Roman Bruehwiler.

Fort Jesus, Mombasa is a fort built by the Portuguese to control the Indian Ocean trade.

The fortress 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.

Community Perspective: this site is still awaiting its first full review.

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Michael Novins

United States - 28-Nov-16 -

Fort Jesus by Michael Novins

In August 2016, I flew from Zanzibar to Mombasa, where I stayed at the Castle Royal Hotel, which dates from 1909 and is centrally located between the Moi Avenue tusks and Mombasa Old Town. Along with a guide from Diani Tours (, I walked from my hotel to the historic spice market (one of the most photogenic in East Africa) and then through the Old Town, where I visited the White House (which served as the first U.S. consulate in Kenya from 1915 - 1918), to Fort Jesus, a Portuguese fort built between 1593 and 1596. Based on what I had read, I thought it was prudent to arrange for a local guide, although the area seemed safe, at least for a daylight meandering -- still, it was helpful to have a guide to navigate through the labyrinthine streets from the spice market to Fort Jesus.

Site Info

Full Name
Fort Jesus, Mombasa
Unesco ID
2 5
Structure - Military and Fortifications

Site History

2011 Advisory Body overruled

ICOMOS recommended Deferral - proposal needed better justification of OUV, comparative analysis and buffer zone. Nigeria proposed inscription - passed nem con!

2011 Inscribed

2010 Referred

2008 Incomplete - not examined


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Fort Jesus