The buildings of Lamu Old Town, the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, are constructed in coral stone and mangrove timber. The town is located on the island of Lamu, on the African East coast, some 250km north of Mombasa. Founded in or before the 14th century, like Kilwa, Zanzibar and other Swahili ports, a trading centre with a prominent role in the slavetrade. Lamu Old Town has maintained much of its traditional atmosphere with narrow streets and Swahili architecture which combines Swahili, Arabic, Persian, Indian and European building elements.
The Lamu Fort, built between 1813-1821 by Omanis, served to protect Omani interest along the East African coast. After British colonial rule and Kenyan independence, it was used as a prison. Today Lamu Island has become an important centre for the study of Swahili and Islamic cultures. Lamu Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Zamani Project team visited Lamu Island on a field campaign in 2006 and spatially documented Lamu Fort, as well as the Swahili House Museum and the nearby Shela Mosque.
The Zamani Project team visited Lamu Island on a field campaign in 2006, and spatially documented Lamu Fort, as well as the Swahili House Museum and the nearby Shela Mosque.