The 300 Year-Old Pillar of Mbaraki in Mombasa
Its purpose in the ancient period is still yet to be known with historians and archeologists coming up with their own theories. Local folklore tells of an Arab spirit that resides within the walls and possesses magical healing powers.
The Pillar of Mbaraki is the second oldest monument after Fort Jesus. The Pillar standing at 50ft tall is more than three hundred years. Its purpose in the ancient period is still yet to be known with historians and archeologists coming up with their own theories.
Local folklore tells of an Arab spirit that resides within the walls and possesses magical healing powers. Women even travel to perform fertility rituals at its base on the belief that they will get children. Others believe that it might be the tomb of a very important person. However, the pillar is hollow unlike other tombs found on the Swahili coast.
The theory that it might have been a landmark or a lighthouse seems solid considering the structure and location. It is fifty feet high and can be easily seen from the sea. It has an open turret topping tower to allow placement of beacon and is located near a creek entrance.
Approximately 5 meters from the pillar, is a small mosque constructed between 1400 and 1450 AD. The mosque was later rebuilt in 1988 after it had fallen into ruins. It has a large prayer room, two cisterns for storing water, and two anterooms.
The pillar of Mbaraki is not well known and hardly features in tour packages. Perhaps it’s the history surrounding it that makes it less appealing.
The Pillar of Mbaraki has been gazetted as a national monument and is situated west of the Likoni Ferry roundabout. The coral stone used in its construction has maintained its original form. It leans at a slight angle like the leaning tower of Pizza in Italy. It is tucked amongst baobabs in a corner of Mombasa Island.
The site is open for visits every day of the week from 9am to 6pm East Africa Time.
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