During my recent visit to the coast, I landed at the famous The Vasco da Gama Pillar which is believed to be one the oldest European monuments in the Africa and having been built in 1498.
As we arrive at the Pillar, our guide informs us this is not the only pillar that Vasco da Gama had built in the Kenya Coast. Apparently he had put up another pillar at the Sultan’s palace in Malindi. At the time Vasco da Gama were having a dispute with the Sultan of Mombasa. However the pillar was demolished by the predominately Islamic community located within the towns that were resistant of Christians. Incidentally the pillar had a cross at the top and was seen to be endorsing Christianity. Following the demolition of the first pillar, Vasco da Gama had to explain to the sultan on the importance of the pillar and finally the pillar was built at its present location in Malindi.
The location :Vasco Da Gama Pillar
The surrounding is very windy and is located 120 kms from Mombasa city. The pillar is visited by both local and international tourist. Managed by the National Museums of Kenya, the pillar is today visited as a monument. Our guide informs us that it was built to give the Portuguese sailing directions to India. The traders who were Portuguese could see it from a far. India is on the east while Malindi is on the west of the pillar. It looks like a control tower only that it does not have any lights in it. The Portuguese would see the tower / pillar from far using binoculars as they neared the sea.
During the evening you will find people winding the evening away as they feel the sea breeze warmth. While here a photo as part of your memoirs is a must have. Photographers have pitched camp here and earn a living from taking instant photos of both locals and foreign tourist. Others use the spot as a fishing spot for sports and relaxation. The monument is also a major attraction to schools and students from across the country make trips to learn more about the pillar’s history. Visitors are warned not to climb the pillar or the Mnara as is referred to in Swahili language.
We continue discovering and learn that the pillar is actually older than the Fort Jesus, one of Kenya World Heritage sites. We complete our visit to the Vasco da Gama Pillar having been well educated on the historic facts of the monument and promise to revisit the location.
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