The fortress of San Sebastian in Mozambique Island

In Africa, From Johannesburg to Bilibiza, Journeys, Mozambique, Mozambique 2015, Our Blog by hudieLeave a Comment

Last night we sleep in the patio because it was too hot inside the house.
Now we have breakfast with Lucas and we go with a friend of his, to visit the famous fortress of San Sebastian.
The young guy leads us by clear and colorful streets, we walk 15 minutes until we reach the East shore of the island. There we see a great monument that has survived over 500 years of history. According to him, Ilha de Mozambique used to be the Portuguese capital of the country since the 16th century until 1898, when the capital was moved to Maputo. It was a center of Commerce of material products as human slaves.
We entered the fort tress and we can see the slow restoration in process conducted by UNESCO. We stopped at a medium size architectural model in ruins, so our guide can briefly explain the tour that awaits for us. The spaces are large, the weed is trimmed, the walls are made out of carved coral stone blocks with a high of a 4story building.
We will walk as he tells us a little bit of history, beginning that the construction of the place was made to defend the island and former capital of the country from invaders, thieves and enemies. He confirms that the slaves were responsible for the difficult transfer of the stones for the construction and that  many died a week due to lack of food, liquids or rest. We walk a bit and our guide shows us the place where the slaves used to sleep. Some overcrowded barracks, almost without ventilation, very different from the soldiers ones, that while rustic they are more comfortable. Before touring the inside of the building, it shows a deep pit dug in the earth, about 6 meters in diameter by 10 deep. This is where some slaves were locked up to punish them for something. Most of them did not survive to it: 6 months without seeing the Sun.
We follow the route, go up the stairs and observe the cannons in position to attack, the rooms were the guards on duty used to rest, control towers facing the sea. Arriving at the ceiling we see that this roof restoration forms part of an intricate network of drainage that collects the water in three large tanks that were built to compensate  the lack of fresh water in the Island. It is an incredible construction. We walk as the guide leads  us to the tank that holds the water deposited by the rains and which serves the inhabitants of the island.
Minutes before our trip by the Fortress ends, our guide take us to the place of execution, where the slaves whom committed an offense were taken. Outside on the ground still lies a round stone of a 190 pounds approximately. He tells us that If the slave was able to hold this heavy rock for a while, the master could consider forgiveness and let him live. But, if he couldn’t hold it or even lift it, he was shot without mercy.

The tour finishes outside the Fort, on an adjacent square where a green statue of the teacher 

Luis Camões, who taught the first letters to locals and foreigners, poses with a happy glance facing the sea.

 

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