Bagamoyo is the oldest town in Tanzania, located 75 kilometers north of Dar-es-salaam. It has played various historical roles in Tanzania. It is a microcosm of East African history: Arabs and Indians established the trade; the African population was shipped of as slaves; the European explorers went through on their way to and from the African continent; later came the missionaries, the German colonizers and today the tourists. With a countless low cost airlines in a constant battle of providing cheap flights to Tanzania.
The name Bagamoyo comes from Swahili words meaning “throw down your heart”, a despair expressed by people who were captured as slaves of knowing that they face a long uncertain future. Some of the famous historical sites in Bagamoyo are; The Bagamoyo Church, Bagamoyo Museum, Kaole ruins, the Old Fort, German Hanging place and Caravan Serei.
Bagamoyo Church was built in 1868 and is considered to be the first church in East Coast of Africa. Cemetries with 47 tombs of early missionaries are all seen. Bagamoyo Museum displays all interesting information about the history of Bagamoyo, history of slavery, German colonialism, and the history of Catholic mission in East Africa etc.
Kaole Ruins located about 5km south of Bagamoyo date back to the 13th century. Twenty graves featuring intricate designs, as well as mosques dating from the 13th and 15th centuries are accessible to visitors. There is a small museum at Kaole ruins.
The Old Fort is the oldest surviving building in Bagamoyo, built in 1860. Initially one of its functions was to hold slaves until they could be shipped to Zanzabir.
German Hanging Place is the site where the German Colonial Government hanged Africans who rebelled against the government in the late 1800s.
Caravan Serei is a courtyard with a single storey building at the front and the square, two storey building with a veranda at the centre. This latter building was used for storing ivory and other precious commodities.
Bagamoyo boasts one of East Africa’s largest assemblies of 18th century architecture. It is a place of memory for human suffering and humiliation caused by slavery and the slave trade and the imposition of colonialism. Now included in World Heritage Sites, in Bagamoyo Guided tours can be arranged to the historical places, but if one feels energetic same can be done on foot or bicycles which can be hired for the day.