Nairobi's Best Historical & Cultural Sites

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  12 November 2018       Oluwakemi Ojo       5 min read

Take a closer look at Nairobi's History and Culture

Nairobi features some of the most historical landmarks in all of Kenya. Even though, so many things have changed in the process of civilisation from the time of the colonial authorities. Most of the cultural landmarks no longer exist and it may look like the city is losing its identity.

Thankfully, some great historical and cultural sites in Nairobi have defied the process of change and still stand till this day. These landmarks have remained significant to the locales and have also become tourist attractions, offering visitors a chance to walk in the shadows of Kenyan history. These sites will help you gain a deeper understanding of the people of Nairobi and their culture.

Here are the historical and cultural sites in Nairobi to explore on your next visit.

Jamia Mosque Nairobi

Located in the heart of the city of Nairobi on Banda Street, Jamia Mosque is the largest mosque in Nairobi, and one of the most well-known religious structures in Kenya. It was originally built by Syed Maulana Abdullah Shah in 1902 and reconstructed between 1925 and 1933 to achieve its current massive size.

The building has beautiful interiors and huge space, and it features three silver domes and two iconic minarets, as well as a classic Arabic architectural style with the use of marble and inscriptions from the Quran. Non-Muslims may not be allowed to enter the mosque.

Jamia Mosque Nairobi

Jamia Mosque Nairobi

August 7th Memorial Park

What better way is there to educate Kenyans of the appalling consequences of terrorism than this memorial park? August 7th Memorial Park is a tribute to everyone that was affected in the bombing incident of 1998. A visit to this place will give you an idea of how true Kenyans adore their own.

The names of 218 victims that lost their lives were inscribed on a granite slab on the memorial wall; and other features like the flora, fountains, sculptures, and rocks endears the park to all.

August 7th Memorial Park

August 7th Memorial Park

Marula Manor Complex

If you desire a touch of gold on your special occasion, you should probably hold your event at Marula Manor Complex. Located in one of the most serene parts of Nairobi, Marula Manor Complex is a 20-acre estate with a blend of old and modern, featuring dark and colourful pre-independent Kenya’s history. The complex features colonial buildings, surrounded by willow trees and well-manicured gardens.

Today, the complex is used as a venue for a wide range of events in the city. It’s one of the top venues for weddings in Nairobi.

Marula Manor Complex

Marula Manor Complex

Nairobi Railway Museum

Railway construction in East Africa has come a long way. The Nairobi Railway Museum was opened in 1971 to preserve the story of the railway construction and to display relics and early records of this time. Due to the changes taking place within the railway system, the first curator, Mr Fred Jordan wanted to preserve the history of the earliest days by collecting items that symbolise the creations of a time gone by in Kenya’s rail transport. The museum is the only Railway Museum in all of East and Central Africa.

Nairobi Railway Museum

Nairobi Railway Museum

Nairobi Gallery

Built in 1913, Nairobi Gallery is located in the heart of Nairobi at the intersection of Kenyatta Avenue/Uhuru Highway. The building is a National Monument, featuring an ancient Victorian-style structure. It was formerly used as the provincial commissioner’s office and a colonial courthouse before the country’s independence in 1963.

The building was renovated by the National Museums of Kenya in 2005 and today, it serves as a museum displaying a collection of contemporary and historical art pieces from both local and international artists.

Nairobi Gallery

Nairobi Gallery, Image Source: Nairobi Gallery Facebook Page

Nairobi National Museum

Nairobi National Museum was officially opened in 1930 as a repository to preserve Kenya’s history and cultures. Then it was named Coryndon Museum, in honour of Sir Robert Coryndon, who was once the Governor of Kenya. After the independence in 1963, the museum was renamed the National Museum of Kenya. It has since then been expanded and many of its galleries are named after well-known personas of the past including Aga Khan, Mahatma Gandhi, and Winston Churchill.

In 2005, the museum was closed for an extensive renovation to become a world-class museum. It was re-opened in 2008 as the Nairobi National Museum, featuring exhibitions that showcase the art, culture, nature, and history of Kenya.

Nairobi National Museum

Nairobi National Museum

Giraffe Centre

Located in Lang’ata, about 5km from the centre of Nairobi, the Giraffe Centre started as a rehabilitation project to save and rescue the Rothschild Giraffe. It was founded in 1979 by the late Jock Leslie-Melville and his wife, Betty. They started the conservation centre when they rescued the two young giraffes – Daisy and Marlon who are among the animals that had lost their habitat in Western Kenya.

The Rothschild Giraffes are a subspecies of giraffe found only in the grasslands of East Africa. Today, the Giraffe Centre has become a popular Nature Education Centre educating people from all over the world as well as school children across Kenya.

Giraffe Centre

Giraffe Centre

Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park

Located along Lang’ata Road, just about 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre, Uhuru Gardens is the largest Memorial Park in Kenya. ‘Uhuru’ means “Freedom” in Swahili and the park celebrates the country’s independence from the British Empire in 1963. Due to its historical significance, the gardens were declared a National Monument officially in 1966. The first Kenyan flag was first raised at this park on the 12th December 1963, marking the first year of Kenya’s independence.

A Mũgumo tree is planted in the exact location where the flag of Kenya was first placed. In 1973, a 24m high column independence commemorative monument was built with a supporting pair of clasped hands and a dove of peace. You’ll see a statue of soldiers raising the flag of Kenya on one side of the monument. Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park is a great place to visit for relaxation, featuring a wide range of leisure activities to enjoy.

Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park

Uhuru Gardens



Unleash Your Inner History Buff

Take a walk through historical Nairobi and unleash the history buff inside of you!

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