Ilha de Mozambique Mozambique Island Ilha de Mozambique
Ilha de Mozambique (Island of Mozambique) is small, beautiful, coral island located in the north of Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. Which lies four kilometers off the coast of Africa, just opposite to Madagascar. Until 1898 the island's fortified town served as the capital of Portuguese East Africa. It was for hundreds of years a major centre of intercontinental maritime trade. It was occupied by Arab merchants from the tenth century until the end of the fifteenth, and in the sixteenth century became a port of call on the route from Europe to the East Indies opened by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama. In 1507, the Portuguese built a fortress on the island where the Customs House stands today. A later fortification that has survived is the fort of St. Sebastian, which was built between 1558 and 1620 and is inspired by Italian Renaissance military architecture.
Attractions on the Island of Mozambique
The main motivation for visiting Ilha de Mozambique is to experience its rich history, architectural heritage and atmosphere. Here's the list of some main monuments, attractions and things to see on the island. In fact, every street, every house, every brick has its own, faded history. The island is a huge open-air museum. You can feel yourself transferred 300 years back in time and imagine walking among the early settlers, soldiers, pirates, businessmen etc. It's living history. Some interesting places to go are: Chappel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, A.D. 1522, Mosque and Sea Food Market, The Hindu Temple Church, Fort of San Antonio, Fort San Sebastiao, Church of Miseriacorda and the Museum of Sacred Art, and Governor's Palace and MaritimeMuseum
Warning: Some of the monuments and attractions may fall under "military or state defense objects". You are not allowed to take pictures without a prior permission of local authorities. You may run into serious problems ignoring these rules. Some of the objects include the Tribunal, Capetania, the Port, police station and immigration office. Ask for permission inside of the building.
Getting around on the Island of Mozambique
Getting to Ilha de Mozambique is easy as the Island is linked to the mainland by a 3 km long bridge. The bridge was build by the Portuguese in 1969 and due to the lack of maintenance, the traffic over the bridge was restricted only to vehicles with maximum weight of 1,5 tonnes and which are not wider than 193 cm. You can get there by air as the closest airport is in Nampula, by car, or by pick up.
The best part of IlhaIsland is that you can walk the whole island in 30 minutes, plus you can take in the exotic surroundings as you walk, bicycles are available for hire but speak to receptionist for information on that.