Cultural, Religious and Historical Sites in Uganda
Uganda is very diverse in terms of cultures and heritage basing on the many different tribes in the country. There are over 50 tribes all with different cultural backgrounds but these can be split into five major regions of central eastern, western, northern and southern.
There quite number of cultural, religious and historical sites in Uganda which have captured people’s imaginations and these include;
The kasubi royal tombs
These are the burial grounds of the kabaka’s of the Buganda kingdom. Kasubi tombs is located approximately 6 kilometers from Kampala city Centre in Mengo, Rubaga. It’s a known fact that ancient Buganda rituals have been performed in this place for centuries of years. Besides holding the burial graves of four Kabakas. The tombs also hold various historical treasures and tools of Buganda Kingdom. The tombs were declared a world heritage site in December 2014 because of its unique architecture.
Situated on top of a hill with exceptionally beautiful surroundings, Wamala Tombs holds the grave of Kabaka Suuna II, a Buganda King who ruled Buganda Kingdom in the middle of the 19th century. Kabaka Suuna II was the first king to admit outside traders into Buganda (now called Uganda). It’s claimed he had over 148 wives and 218 children. Wamala Tomb is very unique among other tombs and very magical as well.
Nnamasole Baagalayaze and Kanyange Tombs
Located in Kagoma along the Kampala – Bombo highway, this is the burial site of Nnamasole Kanyange, the mother to Kabaka Suuna II. Nnamasole Tombs also holds the bodies of other mothers to Buganda Kings (Kabaka). Just like other tombs, the tombs are significant because of the ritual ceremonies that are carried out there. It contains a sacred drum used to request the presence of Kabaka Suuna II’s spirit.
The Karambi Tombs are found in Tooro Kingdom, western Uganda. Three Tooro Kings (Abakama), Kyebambe Kamurasi, Rukidi III and Olumi Kaboyo II including other Tooro Kingdom royals were buried in this these tombs. The tombs are located in Fort Portal, 6km away from town on Fort Portal-Kasese Road. The royal regalia / instruments of power that were used by the kings are kept in these tombs.
Located along Hoima road in Mparo Division, Hoima District; Mparo Tombs holds significant value to Bunyoro Kingdom. These tombs are the burial grounds for kings of Bunyoro Kingdom and some of the royals. One of the greatest kings of the Bunyoro Kitara Empire, Omukama Kabalega was buried in these tombs. Many people visit Mparo Tombs to perform rituals and also honor or seek blessings from their fallen king, Omukama Kabalega. Kabalega is well known for having fought of the British colonialists.
Located in Kakiika Mbarara District, Nkokonjeru tombs is the burial site for the two Kings of Ankole (Omugabes), Edward Solomon Kahaya II and Sir Charles Godfrey Rutabaga Gasyonga II. Several royal family members are also buried in this place.
Naggalabi – Buddo Coronation Site
The Naggalabi – Buddo Coronation Site is located on Budo Hill in Busiro County, this site is so dear to the Baganda people. It is the coronation site of the kings of the Baganda people. There are many traditional rituals which are normally performed every year to commemorate the day the kings are enthroned.
Namugongo Martyrs Shrine is one of the popular and most recognized religious sites in Uganda. It’s definitely a very important attraction in Uganda and is so far the most visited. This site stands at the place where 22 Christian converts lost their lives following the orders of the Buganda King, Kabaka Mwanga II in 1886. King Mwanga was said to be a traditionalist and was not too keen on embarrassing the new religion brought by the Christian missionaries. Touristic shrines have been built by the Roman Catholic Church Christians and the Church of Uganda in this place and every 3rd of June, pilgrimages congregate in this place to commemorate the Christians converts that lost their lives because of their faith in God.
The Bahai temple is one of the most fascinating pieces of architecture in the country. The temple is one of its kind in the whole of Africa. The Bahai religion is followed by a tiny minority of people in Uganda and the world at large.
Also referred to as Fort Baker, this fort is located approximately 29 kilometers north of Gulu town at Patiko, Awach sub-county. Fort Baker was initiated by Sir Samuel Baker, an early explorer in Uganda. The stone structure around the fort symbolizes Sir Samuel Baker’s exceptional effort against ending slavery in this area. The construction of Baker’s Fort was completed in the year 1872.
Bigo bya Mugenyi
Bigo bya Mugenyi found in Ntusi, Mubende district. It has a number of earthworks and cultural artifacts of the ancient Bakwezi, the Bachwezi people were known to be great iron smiths, they made a number of items which helped them fight off their enemies and also these tools helped them in their daily lives. It is these ancient tools which have been preserved for such a long time that fascinates people. This place holds the treasures of the Bachwezi and is referred to as the abandoned treasure.
The sezibwa falls are found in Mukono district in between Bugerere and Kyagwe kingdom-parishes, Sezibwa Falls holds significant spiritual value to the Baganda people. The falls have been one of the most important spots for the past and present Kabakas (kings of Buganda Kingdom). These falls have traditional and ceremonial attachments to the Baganda people. Besides the cultural values it holds, Sezibwa Falls attracts a great number of tourists. This area is a great spot for Birding, nature walks, spiritual healing and relaxation.
Found in Mubende District, the Nakayima tree has been there for centuries, one of the oldest and biggest tree in Uganda. Residents around the area say Nakayima Tree was planted by Nakayima, a wife to Nduhura who was the king. This tree has traditional significance to those who worship it- it is said to heal and give good fortune for those who offer sacrifices to it.
Nyero Rock Paintings
Located 8 kilometers from Kumi town on Ngora Road in Eastern Uganda, Nyero rock paintings are quite intriguing to see. This dates back to the early Stone Age, stone site and the paintings on the rock are found in three rocks. A portion of the paintings on Nyero Rock depicts animals, people, utensils and concentric circles. The paintings are said to be hundreds of years old.
Ndere Troupe Cultural Center
The Ndere Cultural Center is located in the suburbs of Kampala has traditional songs, dancing, cuisines and culture from in Kampala. This place attracts a big number of tourists and also offers accommodation services. It was established to show case the different cultural songs and dances as well the different music instruments used around Uganda.
Igongo Cultural Center
Located a few kilometers from Mbarara Town, the museum was built a few years back to show case western Uganda. The cultural center lays on the grounds of a former palace of the Ankole kingdom. When you arrive at the center, you will be welcomed by a beautiful view of the gardens and a nice looking setup that holds a museum, a crafts shop and a restaurant.
The Katereke Prison Ditch is where you can be narrated stories of past Buganda Kingdom whereKing Kalema, imprisoned and killed all his brothers and sisters (princes and princesses) in the year 1888 for fear of dethroning him. Katereke Prison Ditch today is a tourist site that attracts many tourists who enjoy story telling about medieval past.