Reviving a Maritime Past: Architectural and Ecological Heritage of Chinde, Mozambique

Project Description

Composed by a multidisciplinary team of national and foreign researchers, this project represents an attempt to document and inventory the architectural goods that can be classified as of interest to the patrimony, regardless of their relative values (local, national or universal exceptional).

Therefore, this project aims to survey the architectural and ecological heritage of Chinde in Mozambique, which is a coastal city located in the southern province of Zambézia, and has a rich Maritime Cultural Heritage (MCH) linked to the British concession (1891).

The documentation and inventory of the existing architectural heritage in Chinde will make known the existing goods and identify existing threats. With the inventory, it is intended to include the architectural goods of Chinde in the national inventory of cultural heritage, and in the long term include Chinde on the national map of coastal tourism.

It should be stressed that this phase of survey will serve as the basis for a second major project (to be applied in the next RftD call) focused on the development of an Integrated Management Plan to effectively mobilize Chinde’s Maritime Heritage as part of sustainable economic development of region.

In addition, the inventory will contemplate the understanding of the connections between the architectural and ecological heritage.

It is important to reiterate that the collection of data and documentation of this heritage will be a participatory process, in order to raise awareness of the importance of preserving the rich cultural and ecological heritage (Silva 2000 and Perez 2005).


Location: Mozambique

PI: Roberto Mussibora (Eduardo Mondlane University)

Co-Is: Joaquim Campira (Eduardo Mondlane University), Manuel Chigarisso (Chinde Government), Francis Masse (University of Sheffield)

Duration: 6 months

Size: Small


  • Hold a workshop on the identification of architectural heritage, digital photography, maps, and the use of name plates for the preservation and promotion of architectural and ecological heritage;
  • Collect data on and document Chinde’s architectural and ecological heritage;
  • Produce an inventory of Chinde’s architectural heritage;
  • Identify and map Chinde’s architectural heritage threatened by coastal erosion;
  • Place two name plates on sites of architectural heritage importance;
  • Have Chinde included in Mozambique’s coastal tourism map;
  • Use the data collected from this first phase to prepare an application for a second round of funding for a larger project of MCH in Chinde.


  • Include Chinde’s architectural heritage in the national inventory of national cultural heritage;
  • Train community members on the process of documenting heritage through the use of nameplates, digital photography and maps;
  • Protect the architectural and ecological heritage through the installation of protection / information plates;
  • Develop an understanding of threats, especially coastal erosion, to promote mitigation measures;
  • Contribute to a better understanding and awareness of the value of Chinde’s MCH with local stakeholders;

In addition to the results listed above, the project will yield the following results:

  • Presentation of project results at conferences;

• The publication of at least one peer-reviewed article.

The project includes an initial phase of data collection of the architectural heritage existing in Chinde. The collection of data will be based on bibliographical research, photography, maps, structured and semi-structured interviews with the local population. The project will also produce an understanding of the challenges and threats to this type of heritage and ways to mitigate adverse impacts.

In order to improve local capacity and incorporate local knowledge about Chinde’s architectural and historical heritage as well as its preservation, this project will also hold training sessions and workshops with local stakeholders on how to document heritage and mobilize them to sustainable development. It is expected that with the training the participants will possess the minimum skills required to register the assets of the cultural heritage.

Two heritage sites will be designated with nameplates to demonstrate the potential value of documenting and disseminating maritime cultural heritage.

In the end, an integrated management plan will be developed, in collaboration with the Chinde District Government, involving the local population and other interested public and private stakeholders, in an effort to ensure the inclusion of all stakeholders.

It is important to note that coastal erosion is one of the greatest threats to the physical integrity of Chinde in general, and to its specifically built and natural heritage. Therefore, the project will document the most affected and at risk sites to formulate integrated and joint solutions for their preservation.

At the methodological level, the project will include the following actions:

  • Preliminary Bibliographic Search;
  • Fieldwork:

▷ Conducting training, surveying real estate using photographs, GPS, mapping and demarcation of potential areas of heritage at risk (workshop);

▷ Survey and recording of data (based on mapping, photography, quantitative methods and field interviews with local communities and other stakeholders);

  • Documentation (based on file search and survey and record data);
  • Placement of Plates;

Compilation and Publication of the Inventory and Management Plan

Goals / Activities Period 2019


April May June July August September October November
Preparation for field work and workshop X X X X X
Workshop X X
Survey and data recording in the field X X X
Documentation X X X X X
Inventory Production X X
Placement of plates X
Management Plan and Publication X X X

In many cases, the main challenge in the development of cultural tourism concerns the lack of awareness of the cultural heritage in a particular area, especially there is no inventory of the goods in question (Muocha 2014). This is the case of Chinde.

Today, Chinde has a remote and forgotten place, despite having a rich colonial architecture linked to a rich maritime history, left in a state of abandonment that is witnessed by wide and elegant avenues almost free of traffic (Mc Conville 2015). Chinde’s cultural heritage is also increasingly threatened by coastal erosion and the degradation of its coastal ecology, including dense mangrove forests (INE 2012).

To meet the challenges mentioned above, one of the main priorities of this project is to draw up a survey to identify MCH goods in Chinde, focusing specifically on the architectural heritage, documenting it and creating an inventory.

To facilitate the collection of data, a workshop will be held to train ten people from Chinde on how to document the architectural heritage through digital photography and the use of nameplates. This process will also serve as a skills training, and the inventory will be seen as a strategic educational resource in teacher and student training regarding the rich history and diverse culture of Chinde, many of which are represented in the city’s architecture.

In addition, the inventory and the Management Plan will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the history and value of Chinde’s existing architectural and historical heritage as a way to guarantee its preservation and stimulate use priorities in the sustainable development of the MCH for tourism (Baudrihaye 1997; Perez 2005 and Filipe 2014).

Coastal erosion is one of the greatest threats to the physical integrity of Chinde in general, and to its natural and specifically built heritage. The project will also map the most affected and susceptible sites to coastal erosion to better understand the challenges and threats to heritage and mitigation through the formulation of integrated and joint solutions with a view to their preservation.

It is important to reiterate that the collection of data and the documentation of heritage sites will be a participatory process and will contribute to understand how this maritime environment has historically connected between several countries, namely: Mozambique, Portugal, United Kingdom and Malawi.

Baudrihaye, J. 1997. “El turismo cultural: luces y sombras”. Revista Estudios Turísticos, N.134, p.43-54.

Filipe, K. 2014. Turismo cultural no contexto da gestão do património cultural. In Manual de Conservação do Património Cultural Imóvel em Moçambique (coord. Albino Jopela). Maputo: Ministério da Cultura- Direcção Nacional do Património Cultural: 67-71.

INE. 2012. Perfil do Distrito de Chinde

Mc Conville, K; Wells, c & Wittenbourgh, A. 2015. The Lost City of Chinde. Communications for Concern Worldwide. Published on March 3, 2015

Ministério das Pescas, Instituto Nacional de Desenvolvimento de Aquacultura. 2011.
Actualização de Zonas Potenciais para Aquacultura Marinha em Moçambique.

Moucha, M. 2014. Educação Patrimonial no contexto da gestão do património cultural imóvel.In Manual de Conservação do Património Cultural Imóvel em Moçambique (coord. Albino Jopela). Maputo: Ministério da Cultura, Direcção Nacional do Património Cultural: 59-66.

Perez, X. P. 2005. Informe de Investigação sobre o perfil do “Turista Cultural” no Nordeste Transmontano. Vila Real,Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro.

Pires, E. 2004. “As Inter-relações Turismo, Meio Ambiente e Cultura”. Revista Estudos, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança.

Silva, E. 2000. Património e Identidade. Os desafios do Turismo Cultural. Lisboa, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa