Dar es salaam literally means “peace of haven”. This important port is rather an ironic cacophony of colonial, urban and modern traces of architecture. The contrast hence produced amongst the degenerating white stucco, the coral stones, the corrugated tin shack dwellings, the aging concrete colonies and the dominating modern sky scrapers offer a rather interesting skyline. But most of the predominant architecture roots from German and British missionaries and the structures built by the sultan. Nestled in the natural harbour of Eastern Africa, the port conceals simple pieces from another era in its bosom of coral beaches and naturalistic tourism spaces.

1. CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL

Built in: 1879 by Anglican Bishop Edward Steere
Style: Zanzibari Eclectism, Paleo Christian Architecture
Features: This site was the heart of colonial power as well as one of the largest slave markets in East Africa.After the slave market was abolished by the Sultan in 1873, this Anglican Church was built and hence it is a symbol of decolonisation and the end of an era of tyranny and suffering for the African people.The church is an eclectic mix of elements from the middle east along with Victorian Gothic and Arts and Crafts decorative motifs. The church is an architectural marvel with respect to the local construction limits of those times.The nave’s barrel-vaulted concrete roof made of crushed coral stone and imported Portland cement was designed and constructed when RCC wasn’t common yet.

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Christ Church Cathedral ©www.wmf.org
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Christ Church Cathedral ©www.wmf.org
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Christ Church Cathedral ©www.wmf.org

2. VILLAGE MUSUEM

Built: 1996
Also Known as: Kijiji cha Makumbusho
Style: Tanzanian Vernacular Architecture
Africa in general is also known for its rich local culture embedded deep in their practice in every domain – food, dialect and architecture.

Features:

  1. The village houses the typologies of 16 ethnic groups. The 1:1 model also exhibits the traditional tools, furniture and Knick knacks found in a typical rural dwelling.
  2. The premises also have spaces allocated to crop cultivation, weaving, carving and pottery.
  3. The traditional built forms replicate the use of bamboo, hay and mud.
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Village Museum ©www.lonelyplanet.com
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Village Museum ©www.lonelyplanet.com
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Village Museum ©www.lonelyplanet.com

3. OLD BOMAI

Built in: 1866-67 by Sultan of Zanzibar
Style: Zanzibari Architecture

Features:

  1. Its original purpose was to serve as a palace and guest house, then the administrative office during the colonial rule followed by government offices subsequently.
  2. The building boasts of Zanzibari style wood cravings and coral stones.
  3. It is conserved and managed by DARCH and one of the oldest buildings in Dar Es Salaam
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Old Bomai ©www.africantourer.com
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Old Bomai ©www.wantedinafrica.com
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Old Bomai ©www.wantedinafrica.com

4. AZANIA FRONT LUTHERAN CATHEDRAL

Built in: 1899-1902 by German Missionaries
Style: Gothic Bavarian Style
Features: 1.It was one of the first churches in East Africa and flaunts a titanium white tower along with a brick red tiled roof.The church is flanked by the Magogoni creek along with two other major streets.The structure also has a single stained glass adding to the aesthetics of the façade.

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Azania Front Lutheran Cathedral©www.africantourer.com
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Azania Front Lutheran Cathedral©www.africantourer.com
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Azania Front Lutheran Cathedral©www.africantourer.com

5. IKULU, STATE HOUSE OF TANZANIA

Built in: 1922
Architect: John Sinclair
Style: Swahili Architecture – native to east coast of Africa
Features: Inspired from traditional Indian as well as African features, the building has arched entrances and windows along with detailed cornices.This Swahili building has a white exterior with hipped roof fixed with red tiles. The flooring is made of African terrazzo which gives a shiny finish.The premises consist of 6 prominent buildings all well connected with corridors.

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Ikulu©www.3rdworldarchitecture.wordpress.com
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Ikulu©www.3rdworldarchitecture.wordpress.com
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Ikulu©www.3rdworldarchitecture.wordpress.com

6. JOSEPH’S CATHEDRAL

Built in: 1897 by German missionaries
Style: Roman Gothic Style
Features: The entrance is at the north east direction which also introduces the pilgrim to the tower. The entrance is formed by three pointed arched doorways, each with a cross pinnacle.Above the entrance an intricate central stained glass rose along with thin arched window at each side grace the façade.The roof of the entrance has 11 indents that increase in height consecutively to align with the height of thecross-pinnacle roof. The tower facilitates stack effect which to keep the core cool.

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St Joseph Cathedral ©www.tripadvisor.in
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St Joseph Cathedral ©www.en.wikipedia.org
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St Joseph Cathedral ©www.in.pinterest.com

7. PSPF COMMERCIAL TOWERS

Architect: AI Hatmy Engineering
Year: 2014
Style: Postmodern
Features: The complex consists of two towers and houses parking, retail and office stores.This 35 storeyed building is 500 feet tall and currently the tallest building in Tanzania.This masterpiece is made of glass, steel and concrete and represents the growing architecture and technology prowess of the country.

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Chumbe Light House ©www.alluringworld.com
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Chumbe Light House ©www.alluringworld.com
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Chumbe Light House ©www.alluringworld.com

8. KARIAKOO MARKET

Architect: Beda Amuli
Year: 1974
Style: Brutalism
Concept: Traditional African Market spaces
Features: Kariakoo market is the largest covered market in the country. It was designed by Beda Amuli who was the first architect who was one of the few who set up the first architecture firm in East Africa.The market spreads over two floors inside the covered space and expands in the vicinity of the premises. The form of the building embeds the true African essence in terms of its uniqueness.The passive cooling technology is the highlight feature of this market. The columns that resemble trees are made of thin concrete slabs and facilitate ventilation, cooling and water harvesting techniques.

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Kariakoo Market ©www.3rdworldarchitecture.wordpress.com
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Kariakoo Market ©www.architectureindevelopment.org
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Kariakoo Market ©www.architectureindevelopment.org

8. CHUMBE LIGHTHOUSE

Built: 1904 by the Sultan of Zanzibar
Features: The lighthouse is an important aspect od the port city of Dar es salaam and offers a breath taking view of the sea. This 132-metre-high structure has 132 steps to reach the top of the lighthouse.It is made of coral stones and stucco finish.The lighthouse consequently tapers by five blocks at the top. The tower rests on a single storey base comprising of three windows to the either side.A lodge and a mosque have also been built for the keeper of the lighthouse.

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Chumbe Light House ©www.chumbeisland.com
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Chumbe Light House ©www.zanzibar-retreats.com

9. DAR ES SALAAM HISTORIC CENTER

Dar has been a city of prime importance. Rapid urban development since the 1990s and has hastened the demolition of many of Dar’s most significant monuments and historic structures.The city has been included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch in order to raise awareness about the fast dwindling heritage and develop stewardship of its future amongst the locals. Dar is yet to fully tap into its potential of tourism using its rich architectural heritage. Hence a number of spaces and communities have been planned and integrated into the Historic Centre.

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Dar es Salaam Historic Centre©www.wmf.org
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Dar es Salaam Historic Centre©www.wmf.org
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Dar es Salaam Historic Centre©www.wmf.org

10. DAR ES SALAAM YACHT CLUB

Architects: Liong Lie Architects

The concept of this design is to present a family experience which is unique and everlasting for the Das es Salaam Yacht Club. The design is tailor made, stating the sportive atmosphere of water sports activities in combination with luxurious easing and the pleasance of the scenery.

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Dar es Salaam ©www.lionglie.com
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Dar es Salaam ©www.lionglie.com

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Reshmi Goswami
Author

Reshmi Goswami is an inquisitive budding architect in the physical realm, a spiritual creature in her mind and a meticulously functional artist in her heart. She is obsessed with the idea of “Architecture Triumphs Over Climate Change” in the headlines !

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