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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

Lamu – China came but never conquered

By Andre Vltchek (People's Daily)

13:39, April 20, 2012

Boat arrives at Lamu. (People's Daily / Andre Vltchek)

As turboprop DASH-8 of Air Kenya was making final approach towards the landing strip of Lamu, the view from the window becomes almost unbearably arresting. From above, the archipelago looked like some complex labyrinth of waterways, beaches and green islands. The beaches were white, and bays were carved into the jungle and mangrove forests. Bright colors of water and vegetation appeared picture perfect.

Shortly before touchdown, the stone town of Lamu emerged in full glory. Only one wide waterway was separating it from Manda Island and the airstrip. Soon the fortress, the winding streets, mosques and rooftop terraces became visible even from the air.

Lamu Town is one of UNESCO-protected world heritage sites and many say: one of the most magic places in Africa. Official inscription of the UNESCO says candidly “the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, retaining its traditional functions.”

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