Over the millennia, magnificent historic places have been left behind by Africa’s great civilizations. From ancient pyramids and eons-old rock-hewn churches to castles, mosques, and palaces, Africa is home to a number of remarkable historical sites that are, sadly, frequently neglected.
To help you plan your next vacation, we have compiled a list of ten of the continent’s must-see attractions. Let’s have a peek!
- Luxor, Egypt
Egypt could never be omitted from a list of amazing historical places in Africa. As the country is dotted with ancient structures, statues, and pyramids that inspire awe.
Luxor, one of the most known archaeological sites on the planet, is home to spectacular temples and stone tombs, as well as breathtaking vistas of the Nile.
The Valley of the Kings, which is home to an astonishing number of rock tombs that formerly housed the bones of Pharaohs and their glittering jewels, is the undisputed highlight.
- Lalibela, Ethiopia
The first time you see Lalibela’s carved-out-of-rock cathedrals is a moment that will live on in your memory forever!
Built between the seventh and twelfth centuries, “New Jerusalem” is full of winding tunnels, ornate architecture, and majestic courtyards, and you’ll encounter many white-robed pilgrims as the churches are still in operation. Not only one of the most spectacular historical sites in Africa, but in the entire world.
- Elmina Castle, Ghana
Elmina Castle was constructed by the Portuguese in 1482 on what was once known as “the Gold Coast” in order to control the region and dominate trade.
As the oldest European structure in Sub-Saharan Africa, the castle is a significant historical monument that provides a dramatic experience, as it was used to jail Africans prior to their exportation as slaves.
- Mali’s Great Mosque at Djenne
The Great Mosque is an awe-inspiring structure and one of the continent’s most outstanding landmarks; it is made entirely of earth!
Originally constructed in the 13th century, the current mosque dates back to 1907, and each year the entire town comes at a vibrant local festival to make repairs.
- Ile de Goree, Senegal
The colorful Ile de Goree, just a short distance from Dakar, has a sad history: for nearly three hundred years, the French held Africans on the island before exporting them to a life of slavery abroad.
It is only until you visit the gloomy dungeons and iron shackles that you begin to comprehend the island’s grim past, despite its current colonial architecture and laid-back atmosphere.
- The island of Robben in South Africa
Robben Island is one of the continent’s most significant historical locations because it is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for eighteen years. It is located just off the coast of Cape Town.
Visiting the little cells where political prisoners were confined during apartheid is an emotional, enlightening, and essential experience.
- Meroe, Sudan
Sudan is home to some of the most hospitable people in the world and has more pyramids than Egypt, despite not being on many people’s “must-visit” lists.
Due to their distant location in the Sahara, the ancient pyramids of Meroe, which were once part of a vibrant civilization, remain one of Sudan’s most outstanding tourist attractions.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a remarkable location with almost two hundred pyramids!
- Kilwa, Tanzania
When the Portuguese assaulted the island in 1503, a large portion of Kilwa, once one of the most powerful coastal cities in East Africa, was tragically destroyed.
On the island are the ruins of palaces, royal buildings, and a majestic but decaying mosque, while Kilwa’s well-preserved fort attests to its glorious past.
You will feel as though you have the entire island to yourself because there are few visitors.
9. Tunisian Amphitheater of El Jem
Built by the Romans in 238 A.D., the Amphitheater of El Jem is extraordinarily well-preserved and resembles the Colosseum of Rome in many ways.
The amphitheater once hosted gladiator contests and public shows, but in more recent times it has been featured in films such as “Gladiator” and “Life of Brian” by Monty Python.
Visit El Jem at dusk or dawn to take beautiful photographs!
- Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
The extensive ruins of Great Zimbabwe, which were constructed between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, are Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest and, as such, worth a visit.
During its height, the city was the economic, political, and religious center of a huge empire, and its colossal walls, towers, and edifices display some exquisite architecture.
Great Zimbabwe, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another another of the continent’s hidden beauties.
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