There are several of spiritual or religious sites in Uganda. Among these sites, some belong to the different religious denominations in the country. It is only in Uganda where you can visit a number of holy or spiritual places while on a city tour, this is because most of these sites are not located far from Kampala City Centre. Below are the well-known places that you can visit while on safari in Uganda.
The Baha’i temple is also known as the Mashriqu’I-Adhkar which is translated to mean the “Dawning-place of the remembrance of God. It’s the first of its kind to be built in Africa and was built over 50years ago, hence the mother of the Baha’i faith in Africa. It is located 4 miles from Kampala and sits on 52 acres of land on Kikaya Hill along Gayaza Road.
The temple is a 9-sided structure and it’s said to have been built between 1958 and 1961. It attracts various visitors; those on religious tours and others who come to enjoy the beautiful landscape views. The environment is favorable for those people that want to take time to be alone as they meditate and pray.
Baha’i temple is open on a daily basis from 9:00pm to 5:00pm and the visitors that want to know more about this faith and also can join the locals on Sundays from 10:30am for service. In case you want to have a city tour around Kampala, the Baha’i temple should miss on your itinerary, your visit there is truly memorable.
Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine
The Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine is a distinctive spiritual place to most Christians in Uganda and the neighboring countries. It is situated about 11 kilometers from Kampala in an area called Namugongo in Wakiso district. The Martyrs’ shrine has a very beautiful exterior made of copper pillars which are about 100ft long.
The Shrine was constructed to remember the 32 young men that were brutally murdered under the orders of the King of Buganda Kabaka Mwanga II. These young men were told to renounce Christianity, and they refused, they were given a few days in case they change their minds but they refused, so on 3rd June 1886 they were burnt till their last breath.
Every year on 3rd June, thousands of Christians both Catholics (majority) and Anglicans from all over the world gather at this shrine to honor the religious beliefs and lives of martyrs’. Many pilgrims start their journey to the Martyrs’ shrine in the last weeks of May, most of them are seen walking on foot along the main highways in different parts of the Country. They go ahead to fast as they give thanks to God, they believe by walking on foot they get blessings from God.
Apart from the shrine, there is also a man-made lake to explore, martyrs’ museum and also another Martyrs’ shrine in Munyonyo.
Uganda National Mosque
Also called the Old Kampala Mosque, is the largest mosque in East Africa situated in Old Kampala on Kampala Hill in Uganda about 2km form the City Centre. It was completed in 2006 and was officially opened in June 2007. It has a seating capacity of 15,000 worshippers, and on the terrace 3,500 and 1,100 in the gallery.
The mosque was commissioned by late Col. Muammar Gaddafi under the name Gaddafi National Mosque; in 2013 after his death, the name was changed to Uganda National Mosque since Libyan new administration had failed to take care of the mosque under its former name.
The late Col. Gaddafi gave this mosque to the Ugandan Muslim community as a gift. It is where the office of the Supreme Mufti of Uganda is and also has facilities such as conference and meeting facilities.
It is so outstanding that to the many mosques that are found in Uganda, this one stands out as a skyscraper mosque. The minaret of the mosque offers great views of the city and its outskirts. It is one of the places you can visit while on a Kampala city tour.
St. Paul’s Namirembe Cathedral
The Namirembe Cathedral as many call it, is situated in Kampala on Namirembe Hill. It is Namirembe’s diocese’s diocesan cathedral and the provincial cathedral of the Church of Uganda. It is Uganda’s oldest cathedral in the and the very first church building was constructed in March 1890 accommodating 800 people, the second, third and fourth church buildings were constructed in 1892, 1895 and 1904 respectively.
The current church building was constructed within a period of four years from 1915 to 1919. The church can be viewed from different areas of Kampala and when you get there it has a very spectacular view of the city and nearby areas. There is also a graveyard where the Cooks, who founded Mengo Hospital were laid, and also Bishop Hannington’s remains were buried here after his brutal murder in 1885.
Jewish/Abayudaya Community of Uganda
The Abayudaya are a community of people that practice Judaism, they reside in the Eastern part of Uganda just outside Mbale Town. The word Abayudaya is a Luganda word to mean “people of Judah”. The Abayudaya are so devouted in that they keep the Kashrut and observe Shabbat.
They live in different villages and their population is about 3000, they speak mainly Lusoga, Lugwere, Luganda and some of them have learnt speaking Hebrew as well. They practice farming especially the growth of coffee.
This group of people is said to have been led by Semei Kakungulu who was a Muganda Military leader and they regard themselves to be Jews by choice. The Abayudaya community is a place where you can volunteer in the community an also learn about the Jeewish life.
Visitors to Uganda that are of the Jewish Faith can be assured of enjoying Shabbat. And those who want to experience more can visit coffee plantations or hike Mount Elgon as well as visiting the Sipi Falls.
St. Mary’s Rubaga Catholic Cathedral
It is commonly known as the Rubaga Cathedral, it is a beautiful ancient cathedral and a significant site to the educational, religious and health sectors of the people. It is an important place of worship to the catholic faith and also to the non-Catholics a great attraction because of its beautiful Romanesque architecture, big numbers of tourists visit this cathedral every year.
It is situated on Rubaga Hill about 3km from Kampala city center, the Rubaga Cathedral stands as the headquarter of the Catholic Church and is the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in Uganda. It is also home of the current Kampala diocese Archbishop; Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. Outside the cathedral is the burial ground of the remains of the first African Archbishop and first African Bishop of the diocese of Kampala.