Mombasa

The Mbaraki Ancient Mosque & Pillar

Would you visit an historical site that is believed to be haunted? If you answered Yes! Then this is for you and if you answered No, this is also for you since you’ll be visiting this area through your mind and not in real life.

I met two kids who live around the site and they had been told by adults that the baobab tree nearby has evil spirits. You see, at the Coast, a lot of evil spirit stories involve baobab trees and given I have never encountered such, I really can’t say much. To say the least, that didn’t deter me from visiting the area. One thing however is clear, not many people visit this place which could be because they are not aware it exists, have heard of the evil spirit stories, or they simply don’t find it exciting….sad. What’s your reason? Let me know in the comment section.

Location

The Mbaraki Ancient Mosque and Pillar site is located near Likoni Ferry behind the G4S headquarters. If using a matatu from town, let them drop you at the final stop and ask for Naivas supermarket (previously occupied by Nakumatt). When you get there, simply take the right turn and follow that road till the end of the gate where you’ll see the headquarters. Walk further ahead and you’ll see a rough road on the left. Walk along it and after 100 metres , you will see the gate to the site on the right. People using private means, google maps got you!:)

The entrance

The site consists of a pillar and a mosque that are both ancient. The pillar which is made of coral stone, stands at 50 feet tall and is 300+ years old making it the 2nd oldest monument in Kenya. It is interesting to note that this pillar isn’t perfectly straight but is slightly slanted. I am so much impressed and amazed at how it has stood tall throughout all those years.

3 Theories To Explain Why The Pillar Existed

1. It is believed that an Arab spirit existed within its walls which would provide healing to the sick and fertility to barren women who would come to pray and give offerings.

2. A sheikh was buried here thus making the pillar a tomb which is a theory that doesn’t seem to hold much water. There is no burial chamber and the pillar doesn’t match those that exist around. This sheikh belonged to the Wachangamwe people who resided around Mama Ngina Drive and spread out to Mbaraki area.

When a group of Muslims lived in a particular place together, they would build a mosque around their settlement. Thus, the reason why this Sheikh argument comes up is because people believed that a pillar had to be built when someone died to show that the person was a male figure. Again, this theory does not hold water because we can’t find similar pillars around.

The base of the pillar on the backside

3. It was used as a lighthouse since it stands tall and thus can be seen from afar. The uppermost part contains an area where one can place light or fire to pass a certain message. The fact that this pillar is located next to the creek makes this theory believable.

Unlike the pillar which has maintained it’s original form, the mosque nearby was rebuilt from ruins in 1988. This mosque was built between 1400 and 1450 AD and had fallen to complete ruin by 1550 AD.

There are underground military tunnels and bunkers and other
military installations from the Portuguese to the British colonial periods from the Fort that end at Mbaraki Pillar. They were apparently closed and you can’t see them really.

The site is free to access and some guards around might try to scare you into thinking that you aren’t supposed to film or photograph the site. Stay firm and politely tell them that it is a national monument and as far as you are concerned, there isn’t supposed to be an issue.

Now that you have all these facts, do you feel like you’d want to visit the place for the fun of it and appreciate the history it carries? I hope you said an enthusiastic Yes!

Check out my YouTube Channel for the visuals! ‘Click Here’

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