Chapel of Our Lady of the Bastion

Chapel of Our Lady of the Bastion

Island of Mozambique, Nampula, Mozambique

Religious Architecture

Fine Manueline work of 1522, unique of its kind and unmatched in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. It was built on a spur of the Island near the Saint Sebastian walls and with a single access from the fortress. It basically consists of a “cubic box” in masonry, which is vaulted inside (with the Cross of Christ and four spheres on one of the keystones), and with a jagged row of battlements on the outside summit – thus following the style of small polygonal Manueline churches with a centred-floor plan. Later a porch with semi-circular arches was added (possibly of Indo-Portuguese influence), a glowing white, against the intense navy blue of the waters of the Indian Ocean, it was restored by the Comissão Nacional para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses (National Committee for the Celebration of the Portuguese Discoveries) in the 1990s.

José Manuel Fernandes