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Buganda royal tombs no longer at risk – UN

Buganda royal tombs

The preservation of the revered tombs of the Buganda kingdom in Uganda is no longer considered to be in danger, according to the UN’s cultural organization.

Unesco has now recommended that it be taken off its list of endangered heritage sites.

It says the removal would be a powerful symbol as 50% of sites considered in danger are in Africa.

The Tombs of Buganda Kings, which are housed in grass-thatched circular buildings on a hillside in the capital Kampala, were partly destroyed by fire in 2010.

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The burning of the tombs sparked protests in which at least two people were killed.

They have since been reconstructed with the help of international funding.

The Unesco recommendations follow a site visit by a UN team in June.

The tombs are seen as an important historical and spiritual site for the Baganda people and were declared a world heritage site in 2001.

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They were built in 1882 as a palace for the Kabakas or kings of Buganda and were converted into a royal burial ground two years later.

Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi
The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi constitute a site embracing almost 30 ha of hillside within Kampala district. Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods.

At its core on the hilltop is the former palace of the Kabakas of Buganda, built in 1882 and converted into the royal burial ground in 1884. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome.

It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity.

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