Attractions

Palace in Massawa

Imperial Palace

Overlooking the harbour just north of the gates of the Dahlak Hotel is the Imperial Palace, the original iteration of which was built by the Turkish Osdemir Pasha in the 16th century. The present building dates from…
Historic Building in Massawa

House of Mammub Mohammed Nahari

The ancient House of Mammub Mohammed Nahari was built with magnificent soaring Ottoman-style windows on every side. Unfortunately they are particularly decrepit and, like the rest of the house, seem ready to crumble…
Island in Massawa

Green Island

Green Island is 10 to 20 minutes from Massawa and is the most accessible place for decent snorkelling and tolerable beaches. It's certainly no Bora Bora, but it can make an excellent retreat if you need some hush an…
Historic Building in Massawa

Hotel Savoiya

As you come over the causeway from Taulud Island, a broad sweep of white, arcaded palazzi (palaces) stretches out before you. On the corner you'll see the Hotel Savoiya with its long gallery. Start your exploration …
Mosque in Massawa

Sheikh Hanafi Mosque

At the centre of the Piazza degli Incendi (meaning 'Square of the Fire', after it was the scene of a great fire in 1885) is the Sheikh Hanafi Mosque. At over 500 years old, this mosque is one of the oldest surviving…
Historic Building in Massawa

House of Abu Hamdum

A remarkable example of Turkish Ottoman architecture with its mashrabiyya (trellised) balcony, which allowed cool breezes to enter and the air inside to circulate, the House of Abu Hamdum is almost crumbling and nee…
Architecture in Massawa

Coral-Block House

At the port entrance, this is a good example of a 17th-century house constructed of coral-block, which for centuries was the preferred local building material. The house is currently in use as a Customs office, but …
Historic Building in Massawa

Banco d'Italia

On the far end of the northern coastal road from the causeway, you'll see the Banco d'Italia, a ramshackle copy of the 1920s original and a mishmash of styles, including Gothic windows and towers. Unfortunately, the…
Historic Building in Massawa

Old Railway Station

Built during the Italian occupation, the columns and elegant facade look completely abandoned from the front but a wander inside reveals that several local families have taken up residence. Stick to the main corrido…
Square in Massawa

Campo

A huge square lined on all sides by houses with trellised balconies, finely carved wooden doors, and shutters of Turkish or Egyptian origin. Local families cook and socialise here around dusk, making it a particular…