Take A Closer Look at Dar Es Salaam's Rich History & Culture

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  19 November 2018       Oluwakemi Ojo       5 min read

Visit the Historical and Cultural Sites of Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is one of the top East African destinations where you can indulge in unforgettable historical and cultural experiences. The city offers a wide range of attractions where you can experience the Tanzanian heritage and traditions.

Here are some of the historical and cultural sites in Dar es Salaam, including some festivals and cultural events that are worth travelling for.

1. National Museum & House of Culture

What would life have been like without museums? There would have been no way of preserving our cultures, histories, and scientific findings. For the people of Tanzania, there would have been no way of preserving or housing their largest collections and exhibitions. Known as the largest museum in Tanzania, National Museum & House of Culture displays fossils of some of the earliest human ancestors unearthed.

This is an excellent place to learn about the era of slavery, and the tribal heritage of Tanzania. You’re also going to find some ethnographic displays on traditional crafts, customs, ornaments, musical instruments, and lots more. The national museum is a great place to get a culture fix in Dar es Salaam!

2. Village Museum

With just one visit to the Village Museum, you’ll learn almost everything there is to learn about traditional dwellings in Tanzania. This is a rare kind of learning experience considering that there are 120 ethnic groups in Tanzania. All these ethnic groups are equally represented in the Village Museum; their homesteads, tribal dances, and traditional artefacts.

Village Museum

Village Museum, Image Source: KipepeoBeach.com

3. Askari Monument

The Askari Monument is a representation of how deeply involved Tanzania was in World War 1. The monument was raised so that the memories of such a great time will never die. The peculiarity of this monument can be seen in the inspirational English and Swahili inscription written by a famous British writer and poet known as Rudyard Kipling. Obviously, there’s a story behind this bronze monument; a story that inspired a famous British writer and poet. It’s definitely a place you must visit in Dar!

Askari Monument

Askari Monument, Image Source: AtriumsHotel.CO.TZ

4. St. Joseph Cathedral

When the German missionaries visited Tanzania in the 18th century, they built a Gothic-style Roman Catholic Church in Dar es Salaam. They named it St Joseph Cathedral, and today, it is the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam. What were the Germans like when they visited Tanzania? You can find some answers to this question by visiting this place. Its original form has been maintained since then till date. The vaulted interior, shingled spire, stained glass windows, original German inscriptions, and artwork are some of the highlights of this site.

5. Mwenge Woodcarvers Market

If you’re looking for souvenirs with Tanzanian signatures on them, then you have to shop in the Mwenge Woodcarvers Market. The items displayed in this market are made using ancient woodcarving skills that are only peculiar to the Tanzanian culture. Apart from the sculptures and wood carving, there are quite a variety of other products on display.

Mwenge Woodcarvers Market

Mwenge Woodcarvers, Image Source: MadukaTZ.Com

6. Azania Front Lutheran Church

The German missionaries were on a whole different level of spreading the gospel in Tanzania as can be seen in the various churches they built there. One of them is the Azania Front Lutheran Church. Just like St Joseph Cathedral, the Azania Front Lutheran Church has been preserved and maintained since the 18th century to date. Currently, the Azania church serves as the cathedral for the local diocese, and it’s a popular tourist attraction in the city.

Azania Front Lutheran Church

Azania Front Lutheran Church

7. Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery

Tanzania was the Core of the German East Africa and did indeed receive a lot of hits during the World Wars. After the Germans surrendered, there were thousands of German and African casualties, 1842 of which were identified and buried in this cemetery. The Commonwealth War Commission has preserved and maintained the memorial park to date. You can explore the cemetery and discover memorials and headstones for soldiers from many Commonwealth countries who fought against the Germans alongside the British soldiers.

Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery

War Cemetery, Image Source: Ww1Cemeteries.Com

8. Nafasi Art Space

Nafasi Art Space is the place to experience the vibrant art platform and lifestyle Dar es Salaam. There are over 50 artists, 37 studios, and several exhibition spaces for training, workshops, screenings, public art fairs, concerts, and festivals.

Nafasi Art Space

Nafasi Art Space, Image Source: Transartists.Org

9. Masjid Qiblatain

This is a notable mosque to the Muslim faith because it is where the revelation of the Quran came to change the direction of the qibla from Bait-al-Maqdis in Jerusalem to the Ka’bah in Makkah. A visit to this Islamic landmark will open your eyes to more about Tanzania and Islam at the same time.

10. The State House

Do you know that the original residence of the German governor is still standing in Dar es Salaam today? It may not be exactly as it used to be since it was rebuilt in 1922 by the British who added upper storey arches and a crenellated parapet. The state house is currently the home of the current president of Tanzania, but it has remained an eye-catching and historical landmark for the people as well as tourists.

The State House

State House Dar ES Salaam



Uncover Dar es Salaam's Past

Make your way through this list of Dar's past and take a trip down memory lane of those who lived before us! Another great reason to visit this beautiful Tanzania City.

We'd love to hear from you If you have anything to add to our list or would like to tell us about your experience give us a shout!

Share your experience with us! Tag @Tripindigo on your social posts #EastAfricaRocks or simply comment below!

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