MOMBASA HISTORY AND CULTURE

mombasa bahari hotel

photo courtesy of flickr.com

Majestic Mombasa as some call it is one of the oldest cities in east Africa. It is a prolific city situated on the Indian Ocean that has lots of history and culture to offer. Mombasa city is easily accessible having an international airport, a port and a modern road transport system to cater for the large number of visitors who flock the area to experience this diverse cultural history.

Mombasa is a result of a series of invasions by many trading nations who sought to impose their dominance on it and has switched hands several times all through its history. This brought about a significant influence on its culture and religion but the Arab influence has been prominent in the town for a number of years. Its strategic location along the Indian Ocean made it a center of long distance trade .Arab traders could sail around the Kenya coast as early as 13th century and this boosted the trade greatly along the coast. The city today is covered by markets that have been in existence for as many as hundred years back. These markets are very charming attractions sights and give travelers a true taste of Mombasa.

It is also a place widely known among visitors as the ideal place to buy traditional Kenyan crafts like sculptures, handmade wooden furniture and tools. Visitors are also attracted to the unique traditional kanga clothes of coastal residents which are common items in the markets. Kitenges are a colorful clothes designed specifically for women while kikois are for men. These are common in east Africa coast and are worn as a wrap around a garment. They are best suited for beaches where they are used as beach towels. They are traditionally produced from local fabrics and sold cheaply to the market.  Jewelry is also common in the markets and is very popular with tourists. The markets are mainly dominated by Indian traders although there are other smaller traders like Arabs. There are also numerous boutique shops which deal with paintings, modern art items and traditional clothing.

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