Have you heard of the city that sits on seven hills? OK, maybe you have been to Kampala already. Then there are distinctive Kampala landmarks you should have seen! If not, no worries, you can still do that the next time you are there.
Like I have mentioned before, this city will take you by surprise in its own way. As part of your things to do list, find a slot to visit these Kampala landmarks - only then will you say you have been to Kampala ... You will not have been to London unless you have been to the Big Ben or the London Eye, seen and taken a few pictures there - true!
I have a list of these features for you here. Get to see them and you will have recorded this city into your memories. You will be treated to city views and spots that will stick into your recollections.
Top of your list should be the Cathedrals ... I read this some where...'all cathedrals are churches but not all churches are cathedrals...' true! You will be amazed with the Rubaga Cathedral (Catholic) and the Namirenbe Cathedral (Anglican). I have visited cities and seen some magnificent cathedrals but these will catch your eyes too.
Lubaga Cathedral - Photo by Vince Crawley Namirembe Cathedral Gaddafi Mosque
The detail in precision - the architecture, the size, the history, and the views of the city and far beyond will certainly grub your attention and worth seeing.
And talking about modern architectural designs, the newest Kampala landmark on the scene is the Gaddafi Mosque. Its beauty is amazing - it sits right at the top of Old Kampala hill and you can easily spot it from different directions of the city.
Visit the Kibuli Mosque which for a long time has been the biggest Muslim religious site. It is the oldest in the land with very rich historical features and narratives. It sits on one of the seven hills of Kampala - the kibuli hill.
Then the Baha'i Temple of the Baha'i faith - Amazing structure! The one thing I didn't know for a long time (even with the several times I have been there - of course not on guided tours) is that; this temple is one of the only seven Baha'i houses in the world and it's known as the mother temple of Africa. Wonderful scenery! - It is a must see Kampala landmark.
You will also have to seen the Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo... And especially if you happen to be in the country by start of June - It is a venue for the annual pilgrimage every June 3rd and Christians from all walks of life gather here to celebrate spirituality and history - remembering the lives of the 45 young men who under the orders of King Mwanga II of Buganda kingdom, were burned to death for their refusal to denounce Christianity in 1886.
Unfortunately Namugongo very much comes alive as a tourist attraction round about June 3 and this day is gazetted as one of the Ugandan public holidays but of course visitors are welcome all year round and you can join them for the Sunday mass as well.
Hindu temple also graces Kampala landmarks; based on vedic and puritic Hinduism, this temple is right in the center of the city and one of the very few world wide. Also called the Swaminarayan temple, it adds a unique architectural presence to the city.
Kasubi Tombs - Photo by Vince Crawley
Wait until you visit the Kasubi Tombs - I will let you know in a second... These are the burial grounds for the previous four kings of Buganda kingdom and are a major spiritual centre for the Baganda with traditional and cultural practices preserved. They are an amazing creative piece of genius and outstanding architecture - the more reason they are part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
...Now here comes the downside about the tombs - In March 2010, part of these tombs were reduced to ashes in a careless blaze that ripped through them. The positive is that reconstruction is under way and with a lot of precision, you should see exactly the same structure as before - fingers crossed!
If you love art and plays, the National theatre is the other Kampala landmark you shouldn't miss - the plays are magnificent and it's got a lot more to offer, with many souvenir shops around where you can buy fantastic native art and crafts pieces. There are other theatres in the city of course but I thought it would be unfair for this to miss on my list.
And then of course the less traditional landmarks; there are numerous shopping malls and big chain supermarkets that have come up - Kampala is on the move; you could easily find a mini Beijing or London in some of these places. You don't have to shop around before you come to Kampala because you will certainly get every thing here.
Ford T 1925 at the Uganda Museum
The Uganda National Museum is also worth the visit. I can't find any other way to recommend for a quick reminisce of Uganda's history in one place. The collections and the narratives that depict Uganda through the times are remarkable.
This is just my list but you will certainly find more Kampala landmarks that could have easily made it to this list. Feel free to let me know. For those precious 'kodak moments', don't leave your camera behind.
... And as you see and do this-and-that, you can quite easily share you Ugandan experiences here ... - if of course it's nothing private
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