If the walls could talk...

For lovers of history and architecture, northern Mozambique is an ideal destination.  The islands of Ibo and Ilha de Mozambique specifically are rich in both and guided tours can be taken to explore and photograph buildings that are hundreds of years old.  Even more impressive are the stories told by your guides of the history of the buildings, some good and some very sad. 

Ilha_-_the_old_ChurchOn Ibo you can view forts, trade warehouses, private homes (some in ruins and other lovingly restored), a hospital that use to be the best in the southern hemisphere and churches to name a few places.  The "Cowrie shell" house tells the tale of a woman who decorated the front wall of her house with a cowrie shell for every day her husband was absent.  The story goes that she was crazy - and whether she was crazy because her husband left her alone for so long or if he left her alone because she was crazy remains a mystery.

The Fort of São João Batista, constructed in 1791, is still an impressive sight to behold today.  Its history is filled with tales of sieges, slave trading and infamous interrogations.  Today its occupied by local artists that sell their hand made crafts to tourists.  The silversmiths based here created some of the most beautiful handmade silver jewellery and is well worth the visit. 

Ilha has a rich selection of statues, forts, the Vasco de Gama Museum and many other sights to behold.  My favourite was the old Catholic Church built opposite Ilha de Mozambique.  Its reported that this church was constructed in 1575 and is the oldest in the southern hemisphere.  Although in a poor state of disrepair, the building is still very impressive and one can only imagine what tales it could tell if its walls could talk

 

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