The final week of September 2017 took me to Gedi. Gedi is in between Malindi and Watamu, the two towns I’ve promised myself to one day get a house there. They are the best. The scenery, the beach, the people, the life and everything else is beautiful. I love every bit of it.
I met Ivy along the way who was a local and helped me with the Gedi ruins tour.
Gedi is a 12th Century town which was established by the Swahili people. During its high peak time of occupation, it had a population of about 3000 people. The name Gedi is a Galla or Ormo word meaning ’precious’ and is also used as a personal name. It is either the name of the town which they destroyed or the name of the last Galla leader to camp on the site. But the true name of the town could have been Kilimani.
The town was surrounded by two protective walls I.e. the inner wall which had a height of seven feet and an outer wall which had a height of nine feet. The inhabitants of Gedi involved themselves in various trading activities both locally and internationally. This factor is supported by the archaeological findings which are displayed in the site museum.
The population of Gedi is thought to have been of the Islamic religion. This is supported by the presence of eight mosques.
Gedi reached its climax in the 15th century and it is thought to have been abandoned probably in the early 17th century. This was due to various speculated theories like shortage pf water, civil war, diseases and the hostilities that arose with the coming of the Galla or Ormo people from Somalia.
In the 1927 Gedi was gazetted as a historical monument and received a few desultory visitors. In 1939 valuable work was done by the public works department in cementing together the crumbling walls of the more important buildings. In 1948 Gedi was declared a National park, an archaeologist was appointed as warden and excavation began, which continued until 1958. Responsibility for its administration was taken over by the Museum trustees in 1969.