Mombasa is Kenya’s second biggest city and like the rest of the country has been disputed for very long by foreign powers for its strategic location.
Traders in Asia ever since the first century AD have been passing through Kenya which helped the boosting and growth of trade along the coast. The Arabs have exerted a strong influence on the whole area founding the city of Mombasa until the arrival of the Portuguese. Vasco de Gama was the first European to land on these shores in 1498 and immediately realized the importance of getting control of this commercial basis so the Portuguese began to take control of Mombasa which finally became part of the Kingdom in 1592. However, two hundred years later the king of Oman drove the foreigners away and soon Kenya became a British protectorate from 1895 until its independence in 1963.
If you travel to Mombasa you can still clearly see the evidence of this domination from the numerous examples of Islamic architecture to the Portuguese military buildings.
Once you’ve arrived by sea you can see the great profile of Fort Jesus built by the Portuguese after the conquest of the city, painstakingly similar to the regular canons beauty and with proportions typical of the Renaissance. The fort has survived all the vicissitudes of Mombasa becoming the very symbol of the city and was recently included among the UNESCO World Heritage locations.
The city still has many old buildings mainly by Arabs. Do not miss Biashara Street, the street market full of shops selling Arab and Indian kanga and kikoi. In this neighborhood there are also several Hindu temples built between 700 and 800 from the Indian community.
North of town are the ruins of Gedi, a small town built entirely from rocks founded by a rich sultan in the fifteenth century. However a holiday in Mombasa also encompasses the joy of the beautiful and warm sea of Kenya. The most beautiful beaches in the area are located in the north, such as Nyali Beach, or in the south the Shelly Beach.