Religious Tourism Sites in Uganda : Martyrdom infrastructure built in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries stands out as primary religious tourist sites in Uganda, with the Christian Martyrs shrines and churches found around the central region attracting most tourists. Let’s explore the list.
Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine, Namugongo
Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine, Namugongo is the largest and most famous religious tourist site in Uganda. The shrine is located in Namugongo, Wakiso District, Central Uganda. It is the site where 22 Catholic martyrs were killed between 1885 and 1886. Pope Pius XI also consecrated the site in 1920, and in 1964, Pope Paul VI canonized the 22 saints, the largest group of saints ever canonized by the Catholic Church, Religious Tourism Sites in Uganda
Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine has attracted three papal visits from Pope Francis (2013), Pope Paul VI (1969), and Pope John Paul VI (1993). Uganda is the only African nation to host three papal visits. The Namugongo Martyrs church can seat 1000 people with pavilions sitting 8000 people and the open theater 4000 people. The shrine has visitor interpretation facilities, recreation gardens and supports restaurants, accommodation, and other facilities within the church’s campus and surrounding private areas. Activities include the 3th June Annual Religious Pilgrimage, year-round visits to the shrine, priestly-guided weekly prayers, religious retreats, events, and celebrations.
Anglican Martyrs Shrine Namugongo
Anglican Martyrs Shrine is located in Namugongo, Wakiso District in Central Uganda. The site is where 23 Anglican martyrs were killed between 1885 and 1886.
The Anglican Martyrs Shrine contains tourism facilities and services, including the Church of Uganda Martyrs Museum, visitor interpretation facilities, recreational gardens. The shrine also has support facilities like restaurants and accommodation developed by the church and private businesses around the site.
Tourism activities around the Anglican Martyrs Shrine include the 3rd June annual religious pilgrimage, year-round visits to the museum, priestly-guided weekly prayers, religious events, celebrations, and retreats.
Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine
Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine is located in Munyonyo Kampala city, in Central Uganda. It is the site where the first four Christians were killed in 1886 and later canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964.
The church has a capacity of 1050 people, with the outside sitting up to 500 people. Facilities include visitor interpretation halls and support facilities outside the church like restaurants and accommodation.
Tourism activities include the annual religious pilgrimage, priestly-guided prayers, meditation, and religious events.
Saint Mary’s Rubaga Cathedral
St. Mary’s Rubaga Cathedral, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in Uganda, is the principal seat of the Uganda Catholic Church. The French Catholic missionaries (White Fathers) started constructing the elegant cathedral in 1914, completed it in 1924, and consecrated the cathedral in 1925.
The cathedral has a seating capacity of 5000 people, recreational gardens, and support facilities within the church campus and outside the premises privately run, Religious Tourism Sites in Uganda
It houses the remains of the first African Catholic Bishop (Archbishop Joseph KiwanukaMosqueMosque’sMosque, 1899 – 1966), the first African Catholic Bishop, and the first African Archbishop of Kampala Diocese.
Rubaga Cathedral is located about 3 kilometers (1.9 mi), by road, west of the central business district of Kampala, on Lubaga Hill, Rubaga Division, Kampala City.
Spiritual tourism activities include prayers, year-round visits to the cathedral, meditation, events, and celebrations,
Saint Paul Namirembe Cathedral
St. Paul Namirembe Cathedral (aka Namirembe Cathedral) is the oldest and biggest cathedral of the Church of Uganda (Anglican Church). It serves as the provincial cathedral of the Church of Uganda and the diocesan cathedral for Namirembe Diocese, the first diocese to be founded in the Church of Uganda province, in 1890.
Namirembe Cathedral is located on Namirembe Hill, in Lubaga Division, in Kampala City, about 2 kilometers (1.2 mi), by road, west of the city’s central business district. It was first constructed in 1890, with a capacity of 800 worshipers, then abandoned a year later because of its location in a swampy area at the base of the hill. Unfortunately, the wind blew off the top a year later, and fire gutted it again in 1910. It was rebuilt in 1892, this time with a seating capacity of 4,000 people.
The current St. Paul’s Cathedral was constructed between 1915 and 1919 using earthen bricks and earthen roof tiles. The cathedral is still standing but needs repairs from time to time. Tourism activities at Namirembe cathedral include priestly guided prayers, meditation, and year-round visits to the cathedral, Religious Tourism Sites in Uganda
Kibuli Mosque has been the principal seat of the Muslim faith since 1884. The first Mosque at the site was built in the late 1800s, the current Mosque was built in 1951. The mosque campus houses a school and a hospital. Tourist activities include prayers, meditation, year-round visits to the Mosque. However, the site has limited interpretation facilities.
Old Kampala National Mosque
Old Kampala National Mosque (aka Gaddafi Mosque) is one of the largest Muslim facilities in Africa. It is said that Idi Amin wanted to build the largest Mosque in Africa, but he never completed the work. A year later, deposed Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi gave the money for its completion and commissioned the Mosque as a gift to Uganda and the benefit of the Muslim population.
The mosque has a seating capacity of 15,000 worshipers and can hold another 1,100 in the gallery, while the terrace will cater for another 3,500. It has a visitors’ interpretation center, a conference hall, and a library. Tourists attractions include the mosque’s unique architecture, prayers, meditation, and year-round visits to the Mosque.
Kigungu Landing site
Two French missionaries, Father Simeon Lourdel and Brother Amans crossed Lake Victoria in 1879 and landed on the Kigungu Peninsular. They were the first Catholic missionaries to arrive in Uganda, and an annual pilgrimage still convenes at their landing site. Kigungu landing site is recognized as the first place to welcome the arrival of Catholicism in Uganda. Today, a brick monument marks the spot on which the two missionaries first landed in Uganda. On February 17, annually, hundreds of pilgrims travel to the Kigungu landing site to celebrate the missionaries. Tourist activities include the annual pilgrimage, prayers, meditation, and year-round visits to the site.
The Bahá’í Mother Temple of Africa, also known as the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, is the only Bahá’í temple on the continent and one of only nine around the world. Built in 1961, the temple on the hill is located about three kilometers (two miles) from Kampala city.
The Bahá’í Mother Temple of Africa, also known as the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, is the only Bahá’í temple on the continent and one of only nine around the world. It stands at nearly 38 meters (125 feet) tall, and at the time of construction, it was the tallest building in East Africa. It has a meditational 52-acre recreational garden that attracts many visitors. Religious tourism activities include prayers, meditation, regular guided visits, and marveling at the temple’s architecture, Religious Tourism Sites in Uganda
Bishop Hannington Memorial Site
Bishop Hanning Memorial Site is believed to be where the first Anglican British Missionary was killed on orders of the Buganda king in 1885 with 45 of his helpers. Located in Kyando Village, Mayuge District, the shrine, which sits on 220 acres, is believed to be where Bishop James Hannington and 48 of his African helpers were murdered on October 29, 1885. The site has a commemoration church and resort center with over 40 accommodation rooms for pilgrimages. Tourists activities include annual pilgrimage and prayer celebration and occasional Prayers.
Paimol Martyrs Shrine
Paimol Martyrs Shrine is located in Uganda’s northwestern region. It is celebrated as a religious site where two martyrs were killed in 1918. Okello and Irwa were young Acholi Catechists killed in 1918 for spreading Christianity in East Acholi, the present Day Kitgum District. Pope John Paul II beatified them in 2002, and each year, on October 20th, pilgrims gather at Paimol Martyrs’ shrine to celebrate their martyrdom.
The site has a memorial church and limited support facilities. The interpretation facilities are inadequate compared to other Christian martyr shrines in Uganda. Religious tourists activities include the annual martyrs’ celebrations, prayers, and meditation.