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Gedi Ruins in Kenya

A Guide To Gedi Ruins

Gedi Ruins Kenya are in the north coast of Mombasa towards Malindi in Kenya. Gedi was a small town built from rocks and stones. It was inhabited by a few thousand Swahili people and ruled by a rich Sultan.

Gedi Ruins date back to the 15th century, and due to preservation most of the original foundation is intact. A well – informed guide gives a tour of the ruins. They are national museum by law, and their preservation is a reflection of the Kenya Government commitment to uphold the country’s cultural and historical background.

Gedi Ruins in Kenya Destination Guide

Gede ruins are the remains of a Swahili town, typical of most towns along the East African Coast. It traces its origin in the twelfth century but was rebuilt with new town walls in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This rebuilding is connected with the emigration of many citizens of Kilwa to Mombasa, Malindi and other places along the coast.

With its numerous inhabitants, the town became wealthy and it reached its peak in the fifteenth century. This enormous wealth is evidenced by the presence of numerous ruins, comprising of a conglomeration of mosques; a magnificent palace and houses all nestled in 45 acres of primeval forest. But in the first half of the seventeenth century the last families left the town.

Gedi Ruins in Kenya Abandoned

Gede’s eventual abandonment to nature is believed to be as a result of a number of factors. Namely, the Wazimba raid along the East African coast in 1589. The removal of the Sheikh of Malindi and the Portuguese to Mombasa in 1593. The falling water table as shown by the deepening of the well outside the Great Mosque and finally the overhanging menace of the Galla, a hostile nomadic ethnic group from Somalia.

Gedi Ruins remains the first intensively studied site on the coast. It was first visited by Sir John Kirk, a British resident of Zanzibar in 1884. Over forty years later in 1927, it was gazetted as a Historical Monument. Two years later in 1929, it was declared a “protected monument” and in the late thirties, the Public Works Department carried out work on preservation of its crumbling walls. Gede was soon after the repairs in 1948 declared a National park and an Archaeologist appointed as warden. Thus, the first archaeological work at Gede began under the direction of James Kirkman followed by the first publication of the site. In 1969, Gede’s administration was taken over by the Museum Trustees.

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Currently the Monument is under the care of the National Museums of Kenya and in addition to being a very important archaeological site; Gede indigenous forest is a sacred site for traditional rituals and sacrifices for the surrounding community.

What To See in Gedi Ruins

Taking a guided tour through the ruins and the museum will teach you a lot of interesting things about the fascinating culture of the Swahili people and the ancient town they constructed. Additionally, you can walk along the nature trail network which comprises 40 different species of plants and leads to lesser ruins throughout the forest.

Gede Ruins is also an excellent place to observe wildlife. Forest birds like Turacos, Malachite Kingfishers, Paradise flycatchers and African Harrier Hawks can be seen from the tree platform which was built for the A Rocha’s Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Eco-tourism Scheme (ASSETS) programme.

The Gede Ruins National Monument & Museum is open to public daily from 7 am to 6 pm

Gedi Ruins In Kenya

Gedi Ruins In Kenya


Comparison of Gedi Ruins With Other Similar Properties

The history of the rise and fall of Gedi is intricately linked to what was happening to the other Swahili states along the eastern coast of Africa such as Kilwa. While they share this history, its architectural designs are equivalent to those of the historic cities of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara in Tanzania.

Gede Ruins National Monument & Museum Contacts

Gede Ruins National Monument & Museum, Curator- Mr Jambo
tel +254 (0)42-2332065 ; (0) 722326313

Gede Ruins Kenya Video