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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 Swahili House Museum was maintained as an example of an 18th century Swahili house, allowing viewers to experience some of the atmosphere inside a traditional Swahili house. 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 the Swahili House Museum as well as the Lamu Fort and the nearby Shela Mosque.


> Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Collaborators / Partners 

Panorama Tour

Panorama-Tour of Lamu

The Panorama Tour includs the Swahili House Museum, the Lamu Fort and the Shela Mosque.

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