Africa has some of the most exciting forts and castles in the world. They are rich in history and full of interesting facts. Castles in Africa have been featured in movies like Gladiator and Game of Thrones, and some African royalty even kept lions as pets in their palaces. Such stories of greatness are in sharp contrast to the other side of forts involving slavery and invasion.
Enjoy these amazing pictures of the forts and castles in Africa. We also have a bonus section for couples looking for that special place to tie the knot.
What is the oldest castle in the world?
It is the Citadel of Aleppo, located in Syria, and it was built around 3000 BC.
Old Castles in Africa
As the saying goes, age before beauty. We begin with the strongholds that have stood the test of time.
1. The Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali
2. Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
According to UNESCO, it was built during the Shona civilization between the 11th and 15th centuries. The site is unique in that the stones were placed without mortar, which is like building without cement.
3. Cairo Citadel, Egypt
Built by Salah ad-Din in 1176, it was the seat of the Egyptian government for over 700 years, as its location makes it very difficult to attack.
4. Citadel of Qaitbay, Egypt
It was built where one of the seven wonders of the ancient world once stood, the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The lighthouse collapsed after a series of earthquakes between the 11th and 14th centuries.
5. Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Ethiopia
This is one of the best in Africa, and it was built in 1636 CE. Fasilides Castle is located in Gondar mainly because there was no Malaria in the high altitudes. Haile Selassie kept his lions in this castle complex.
If you want to be amazed by Ethiopian architecture, check out the churches of Lalibela.
6. Ait Benhaddou, Morocco
This fortified village is the Gondar of the North. This Moroccan site has been featured in Hollywood films like Gladiator, The Mummy, and, most recently, Game of Thrones.
7. Cape of Good Hope Castle, South Africa
Also known as Kasteel de Goede Hoop, it was built in the 17th century as a bastion fort. It is the oldest colonial building in South Africa.
8. Ribat of Monastir, Tunisia
It was founded in 796 by Harthama ibn A'yan. The Tunisian ribat is the oldest of several fortifications built by Arab invaders in North Africa.
9. Fort Santa Cruz, Algeria
The fort Santa Cruz is very famous and has a breathtaking view. Strategically, it is a masterpiece because invaders can be spotted from very far, and it is also connected to three other forts via underground tunnels
10. Taleh, Somalia
It is the largest of five forts erected by Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, the leader of a Somali- Muslim kingdom. It was built in the early 1900s but was destroyed in 1920 by the British.
11. Duwisib Castle, Namibia
It is one of the few castles where visitors can spend the night enjoying the stars' ethereal views in the night sky. The highest dunes in the world are just a stone's throw away.
Slave castles in Africa
When you think about castles in Africa, West Africa has a bad reputation because many of them were used as transit points for slaves. East Africa also had its share of slavery.
12. Cape Coast, Ghana
Which people built the Cape Coast? That would be the Swedes. Cape Coast is a painful reminder of how more than 70,000 slaves were taken every year. Once captured, slaves went through the Door of No Return.
Those who named it never knew that those slaves' descendants would return as the rulers of the land they were taken from. Michelle and Barack Obama visited the fort as President and First Lady in 2009.
How many castles are there in Ghana?
There are a total of thirty-two forts and castles, according to UNESCO. Three of those are classified as castles. Examples include Elmina Castle, Osu Castle, and the infamous Cape Coast.
13. Fortress of Sao Miguel, Angola
The Portuguese built it in 1576 CE as an administrative centre and the centre of the slave trade from Angola to Brazil. It is now a Museum of the Armed Forces.
14. Goree Castle, Senegal
Goree is an island 4 km away from the capital city of Dakar. Many slaves passed through here on their way to the Americas.
15. Fort Jesus, Kenya
The Portuguese built the fort in the shape of a man. It was initially a defence post captured by the Arabs and used in the slave trade. The British later conquered it and made it a prison.
The list of slave castles in Africa is long and painful; these are just a few that remind us of the anguish that our ancestors faced to give us the freedom enjoyed today. We wrap up the list on a lighter note with castles that can bring joy to newlyweds.
Castles in South Africa for Weddings
A castle wedding is a special occasion that can feel like a Disney movie where the bride leaves the castle with her Prince Charming. If you are looking for a venue that can make your dreams come true, check out Chartwell Castle, Castle Marina, Camelotte Castle, to mention a few.
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