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Fort Jesus is popular Unesco cultural attraction on  Mombasa Island in Kenya. Built around 1593, Fort Jesus is regarded as one of the best examples of 16th-century Portuguese military fortifications.

The fort was built to protect the Old Port of Mombasa from invasion and was an important asset for anyone wanting to control Mombasa Island and the surrounding trade routes.

From 1631 to 1875, the fort was won and lost 9 times as a result of battles to control Kenya and the trading route. After 1875, the fort fell under the British and was later used as a prison until 1958 when it was declared a national monument.

Fort Jesus has been a major attraction in Kenya and was later inscribed as a cultural UNESCO site because of its architecture and cultural significance.


The main activity at Fort Jesus is learning about the history of the fort and its various Portuguese, Arab and British influences - and how that affected the local culture, and the geopolitics of Eastern Africa.

When To Visit

For Jesus can be visited at any time of the year. Since many tourists combine Fort Jesus with a general visit to Mombasa and the other attractions around Kenya's coast, you shouldn't have to adjust your schedule because of Fort Jesus.

Related article: Best time to visit Kenya

Getting There.

It is easy to get to Fort Jesus in Mombasa. If you are coming in from Nairobi, you can take the train or fly with a domestic airline directly to Mombasa.

Where To Stay.

Fort Jesus is found in Mombasa, Kenya's second-biggest city, busy seaport and popular beach area. This means that you have a lot of options when it comes to accommodation.