Gedi: near Malindi towards Maombasa, is one of the oldest Muslim settlements in East Africa. It thrived in the late 13th Century and early 14th Century. For some unknown reason, the settlement was abandoned in the late 16th Century. Above is the remaining ruins of one of the mosques there.
Takwa: here too is another old Muslim settlement, very similar to Gedi. It is on Manda Island, near Lamu. It flourished in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries. Above is what remains today of the main mosque there. Takwa too, for some unexplained reasons, was abandoned some times in the 18th Century.
Lamu, founded in the 14th Century, is Kenya's oldest 'living' town. It is on an archipelago. The old streets of Lamu town have a striking resemblance to Mukalla's Old area. When my late Father left Hadhramout by dhow in the mid 1940s to come to East Africa for the first time, they stopped in several places: in Somalia and in Kenya. He said, the moment they landed in Lamu, he was truly exhilarated. He loved it. Lamu has many mosques; and to this day, with many of its inhabitants descended from the Hadharem, it has a strong connection to Hadhramout.
Mombasa: a city of about one million people. Ibn Batutta visited it in 1331 and reportedly spent one night here. He felt very comfortable there and mentions its people in his writings as: "a religious people, trustworthy and righteous. Their mosques are made of wood, expertly built." Due to the many Hadharem descendants there, Mombasa too, has strong ties with Hadhramout.
Very rarely would you see a pink mosque; there is one in Kenya, along the Nairobi-Mombasa high-way.
|Nairobi Jami'a Mosque|
Nairobi: home and a place that I have always loved and felt most comfortable in. There are several mosques in the city and the many suburbs; most are small.
|Jam'ia Mosque is located on Banda Street, Nairobi|
Nairobi's main Jami'a Mosque is centrally located in the city. But, it is rather small. Behind it, next to it, is a large library with many Islamic books.
The above mosque in a Nairobi suburb, is very close to a Christian guest house. Even with the loud call for prayers from speakers, five times a day, there is a very good understanding and relationship between all religions in Kenya.
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