Starting as a small settlement, Malindi grew into a large town hosting communities with diverse cultures and religions. This cultural diversity is evident in the many old buildings that are still standing in Malindi today. There are many residential and mosques buildings that point to the Islamic culture. Others are uniquely Portuguese or British such as the ‘Balozi House’. The Sindbad Hotel was designed to imitate Arabic architecture. Apart from churches and mosques, other known buildings have been converted to uses other than what was first intended. For instance, the building where the Malindi Museum is housed was once an Indian trader’s house.
House of Columns (formerly Game Dept.) with Seafront Breaking Over Sea Wall
Photo by Mr. Shamoon Rajabali 1958
HOUSE OF COLUMNS
It was built before 1891at the seafront. It was initially an Indian traders’ house, and later changed into the 1st Malindi Hospital from1930s to 1952. It later served as Fisheries and Game Office before being handed over to the National Museums of Kenya in early 2000. It was officially opened as the firstmuseum in Malindi in 2004.
Source: Mr. Shamoon Rajabali
Jamia Mosque Under Construction
Openning Ceremony of Jamia Mosque (Friday Prayer Mosque)
There was an old small mosque nobody remembers its name. The current mosque was rebuilt in February 1952 from the ruins of the previous one. The building was officially opened on 19th February 1960 (C.E.). 21st Shaaban 1379 (A.H.). It is located at the seafront adjacent to the present curio market. The foundation stone was laid by Sir Yusuf Ali Karimjee Jivanjee from Dar es Salaam.
Source: Mr. Rajabali Shamoon Photo by Mr. Rajabali Shamoon
Portuguese Chapel “St. Francis Xavier” / ‘kanisa la Wareno’Photo: by Hans van Schoonveld
It is the earliest Church in East Africa and was in use from the 1500s. The Chapel is located at the seafront next to Shikely fish -shop. It was part of the trading post established by the Portuguese in the 16th century. It was gazetted as a National Monument in 1935. It is still being used by the Christian community in Malindi.
Source: MMS Archives
These Tombs are next to the ruins of Jamia Mosque. They were built in the 6th century and are unique features in East Africa. The local legend holds that they may have been built by the Portuguese. Next to the pillars is a grave of a horse buried by the Portuguese. It is believed that the tombs had no connections with the Arabs.
Source: MMS Mr. Shamoon Rajabali
Photo by Abdalla Alaussy
The District Commissioner’s Office /Balozi House or Kwa Balozi
It was built by the Imperial British East Africa company for the company’s first officer Bell-Smith in 1890. It continued to be used as a Government Administration office until it was handed over to the National Museums of Kenya for use as museum. The building
was gazetted as a National Monument in 1991 and confirmed in April, 1995. The DC moved out officially in 2012. It is currently known as Malindi Cultural Complex Museum.
Source: MMS Archives