From the 13th to the 16th century the small islands of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara were central to the Indian Ocean trade and the Coastal Swahili Culture. The two ports were the conduit for trade in ivory, gold, timber, porcelain, pearls, jewelry and clothes.

For some time, Kilwa was a prominent port for the Indian Ocean Slave Trade with more than 20 000 african slaves passing thorugh the port every year. The islands were prominent in the Islamisation of East Africa. Kilwa Kisiwani, described by the Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta who wrote “The city of Kilwa is amongst the most beautiful of cities and elegantly built.”. Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara are a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Zamani Project spatially documented Songo Mnara during 4 field campaigns between 2005-2009. The structures documented include: The Palace, the mosque and a number of residential buildings.

Similar sites:
Gede mosque (Gede, Kenya), Shela mosque (Shela/lamu, Kenya), Djenné mosque (Djenné, Mali), Djingereyber mosque (Timbuktu, Mali), Kilwa mosque (Kilwa, Tanzania)


> Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
> Rice University
> University of York
> partially funded by World Moument Found (WMF)

Collaborators / Partners 

> Stephanie Wynne-Jones (University of York)
> Jeff Fleisher (Rice University)
> World Moument Found (WMF)

3D model of the
Songo Mnara palace complex

3D model of Swahili buildings 

The 3D model shows the Swahili buildings nr. 19, 20, 21, and 22
on Songo Mnara

Panorama Tour

Panorama Tour of
Songo Mnara

Full dome panoramas capture a full 360-degree view from a single position. Individual full dome panoramas can be merged into a panorama tour, which allows a user to freely move from one panorama position to another.

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