"Gereza", or Arab Fort

"Gereza", or Arab Fort

Zanzibar, East Africa, including Ethiopia, Tanzania

Military Architecture

In this “stone city” we find the “old Arab fort”, the “Gereza”, built by the Omani Arabs in 1710, on the site of the former Portuguese church from the 1550s – as far as we know, no traces of the former construction were left. It used to have a chapel of Portuguese origin, built in 1612 (we do not know if it corresponded to the church). The fort is a massive battlemented construction in the style of the forts of Kilwa and Mombasa; It would therefore be important to check the (Islamic and/or Portuguese) origins of its construction. It includes three cannon with the monograms of King Manuel and King João III, probably captured from the Portuguese by the Persians during the siege of Hormuz in 1622.

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