Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte

Northern Mozambique

In the shadow of the São Sebastião fort on the island’s northern tip is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, built in 1522 and considered to be the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere.

Built by Portuguese sailors en route to India, the chapel was partly restored in 1996. Architecturally it ranks as late Gothic, a style known in Portugal as Manueline and that is closely associated with the Portuguese era of discovery in the early 16th century.

Entry is through the fort. The large, rusty doors flanked by a soiled coat of arms are usually left open. Stand in front of the simple altar and listen to the sound of crashing waves.

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