Swahili culture is the culture of the Swahili people inhabiting the Swahili Coast. This area encompasses Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar and Comoros. The ‘tribe’ came about after the originate Bantu inhabitants of the coast intermingled with migrant Arabs back in the 14th century. The swahili are a people  that remain quite secretive and respectful about their culture. Arabic culture and islam have had the greatest influence in shaping their traditions. Religion governs nearly every aspect of swahili culture, including clothing and lifestyle.

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Swahili people

Even though None of the existing stone houses at the coast was built before the 18th century, their type of construction can be traced back several centuries. The ruins at Gedi in Kenya provide one example of early Swahili architecture. Islam was well established along the Swahili Coast by the 12th century, though elements of indigenous African religions remained. the Swahili current houses are often built in a historic fashion/design even though they  have modern interiors. This is deliberate in preservation of culture.

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Contemporary Swahili Architecture

The traditional attire of a Swahili man is a long white or beige robe (or kaftans) known in Swahili as a kanzu and a small, white, rounded hat with elaborate embroidery. Swahili women dress in long dresses such as the buibui, and cover their heads with scarves.


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