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Island of Mozambique

Island of Mozambique

The fortified city of Mozambique is located on this island, a former Portuguese trading-post on the route to India. Its remarkable architectural unity is due to the consistent use, since the 16th century, of the same building techniques, building materials (stone or macuti) and decorative principles.

Île de Mozambique

La ville fortifiée de Mozambique est située sur cette île, qui était un ancien comptoir portugais sur la route des Indes. Son étonnante unité architecturale est due à l'utilisation constante, depuis le XVIe siècle, des mêmes techniques et matériaux (pierre ou macuti) et des mêmes principes décoratifs.

جزيرة الموزمبيق

تقع مدينة الموزمبيق المحصّنة على هذه الجزيرة التي كانت تُعتبر بمثابة متجر برتغالي قديم على طريق الهند. وتعود وحدتها الهندسيّة المدهشة إلى الاستعمال المستمر للتقنيات والمواد ذاتها (الحجارة والماكوتي) والمبادئ التزيينيّة نفسها منذ القرن السادس عشر.

source: UNESCO/ERI



source: UNESCO/ERI

Город-остров Мозамбик

Укрепленный город Мозамбик, расположенный на одноименном острове, – это бывший португальский торговый форпост на пути в Индию. Его замечательная архитектурная целостность обусловлена последовательным использованием, начиная с XVI в., одних и тех же методов строительства, строительных материалов (камень «макути») и приемов украшения фасадов.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Isla de Mozambique

En esta isla se halla la ciudad fortificada de Mozambique, antigua factoría portuguesa situada en la ruta marítima de la India. Su sorprendente unidad arquitectónica se debe a la una utilización constante de los mismos métodos de construcción y materiales (piedra o macuti) desde el siglo XVI, así como la aplicación de principios ornamentales siempre idénticos.

source: UNESCO/ERI


source: NFUAJ

Eiland Mozambique

Op het eiland Mozambique ligt de versterkte stad Mozambique, een voormalige Portugese handelspost op de route naar India. Zijn opmerkelijke architecturale eenheid is te danken aan het – sinds de 16e eeuw – consequente gebruik van dezelfde bouwtechnieken, bouwmaterialen (steen of ‘macuti’) en decoratieve principes. Het grondgebied van Mozambique werd bewoond door een Bantu stam en rond het jaar 900 door de Arabieren bezet. Vasco da Gama heeft het eiland veroverd terwijl hij op zoek was naar een route over zee naar India. De haven van Mozambique was een van de belangrijkste havens en handelsposten van Portugal op de zeeroute naar India.

Source: unesco.nl

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Island of Mozambique © Our Place
Long Description

The Island of Mozambique bears important witness to the establishment and development of the Portuguese maritime routes between western Europe and the Indian subcontinent and thence all of Asia. The town and the fortifications on the island, and on the smaller island of St Laurent, are an outstanding example of an architecture in which local traditions, Portuguese influences, and to a somewhat lesser extent Indian and Arab influences, are all interwoven.

Inhabited by a Bantu tribe, the territory of Mozambique was occupied around AD 900 by Arabs who set up trading posts. In their search for a maritime route to India to avoid Muslim forces, the Portuguese decided to go around the continent of Africa. King John II (1481-95) sent Bartolomeu Dias to explore the African coast. Sailing beyond the coast of the Congolese kingdom, the great navigator rounded the extreme southern tip of Africa, unaware of the feat he had accomplished. It was not until his return that he discovered the 'Cape of Storms', which John II renamed Cape of Good Hope.

Manuel I (1495-1521) ordered Vasco da Gama to continue the search for a maritime route. Leaving Lisbon in July 1497, he reached the Island of Mozambique on 2 March 1498, where he was well received by the sultan and the people, who thought the Portuguese were Muslims. During his second voyage, he occupied the territories of present-day Mozambique and returned to Lisbon in 1503 laden with gold.

Some years later, Mozambique had become one of Portugal's principal ports and trading posts on the sea route to India. The first fortress, St Gabriel, was built in 1507. At the end of the 17th century, after enjoying strong economic expansion, the town with its fortifications, along with the smaller island of St Laurent, went into a period of decline. In the second half of the 18th century, the economy was revived by the slave trade.

In 1898 the capital of Mozambique (the Portuguese colony) was transferred to Laurenço Marques (Maputo), considerably slowing down the economy of the town on the island of Mozambique. The town had developed unequally over some 400 years. Less than half of it was built from stone, a little more than a quarter in macuti (straw), with the remainder being the various fortifications.

The incredible architectural unity of the island derives from the uninterrupted use of the same building techniques with the same materials and the same decorative principles. The island's patrimony also includes its oldest extant fortress (St Sebastian, 1558-1620), other defensive buildings and numerous religious buildings (including many from the 16th century).

The island has been classed on the national level and for about 10 years has benefited from restoration work and studies by international specialists. However, while the present state of conservation is not fully satisfactory, a restoration and management programme is in progress.