Buganda Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi_Tombs_large1The Kasubi Tombs were first built in 1881 and are worth a look for a dose of traditional culture. These contain the remains of four kings of Buganda and has been a tourist destination over the years. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular in shape. In 2001, the Kasubi Tombs were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Kasubi Tombs are the most active religious place in the kingdom, where rituals are frequently performed and acts as a communication point between the present Baganda kings to the spiritual world. Its place as the burial ground for the previous four kings (Kabakas) qualifies it as a religious centre for the royal family, a place where the Kabaka and his representatives carry out important rituals related to Buganda culture.

This site is a major example of an architectural achievement that was raised with use of vegetal materials comprised of wooden poles, spear grass, reeds and wattle which proved how traditional building materials were of great importance at that time and currently. The way it was erected makes it look unique in the eyes of the visitor at a distance.

Initially, the Baganda are the Bantu-speaking people and date their political civilization from about the 13th century AD. As far as Kasubi Tombs are concerned, history dates back from Kabaka Muteesa 1. He constructed the present tomb structure as his palace in 1882. He became a very powerful Kabaka, the first to be influenced by foreign cultures. He adopted some Islamic religious practices learnt from ivory and slave traders from Zanzibar. He also showed interest in Europe after acting as host in 1862 to John Hanning Speke, the first European visitor.

kasubi tombs cultural sites ugandaWhen Muteesa I died in 1884, he broke two traditions: his body was buried whole and it was buried in his palace, Kasubi, not somewhere else. This practice became the order of the day in Buganda and in 1910, the remains of his successor, Mwanga II , were brought back from the Seychelles and also buried there, establishing Kasubi as an important burial place of the Kabakas of Buganda. This did not stop here and the status was reinforced when his son and successor, Daudi Chwa II, died in 1939 and was also buried at Kasubi.

His son and successor, Edward Muteesa II, was first in conflict with Britain and then, after independence in 1962 when he became President, with his own Prime Minister. Kasubi was stormed in 1966 and the President went into exile, but when he died in 1969 his remains were returned and buried at Kasubi in 1971.

The site is now not only the most important cultural shrine for the Baganda but also the most attractive tourist site in the country.

The Kasubi Tombs are open year-round, including holidays. Remove your shoes before entering the main building. You can get to the tombs by organized transport from your tour operator or if you want to experience public transport in Kampla, you can take a minibus to Kasubi. Visiting this site will put an icing on your Uganda Safari trip.

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