Situated on a hill with in Kampala, The Kasubi tombs tourism site is an active religious place in the Buganda Kingdom . Its place as a burial ground for the previous 4 Kabakas of Buganda makes it a very important religious centre for the royal family, a place where the Kabaka and his representatives frequently carry out important rituals related to the Ganda culture. It is an outstanding example of traditional Ganda architecture and an exceptional testimony of the living Ganda Traditions. For Uganda and the East African region as a whole, the site represents an important symbol for its history and culture. The site was inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list in 2001.
The Kasubi tombs are situated five kilometers away from Kampala city centre on Kasubi hill, the Kampala/ Hoima road. When coming from Kampala centre, pass Makerere University and drive down to Nakulabye. At the Nakulabye junction, turn right on the Hoima road , drive 1 km up the kasubi hill( on your left ), and turn left on the Masiro road. The entrance to the Tombs is marked by a thatched hut.
The Baganda belong to the Bantu speaking people and date their political civilization back to the 13th Century AD. According to oral tradition, the first Kabaka of Buganda was Kintu. He is said to have come with his wife Nambi, whose hand he won by performing heroic deeds at the command of her father Gulu, the god of the sky. Kabaka Kintu is said not to have died but to have disappeared into the forest at Magonga. At kasubi and in all other royal tombs, there is an area behind a bark cloth curtain known as Kibira or forest where certain secret ceremonies are performed. At the Kasubi tombs, the Kibira is the area where the real tombs of the Kabaka are, while in front of the curtain there are raised plat forms corresponding to the position of each Kabaka’s tomb behind the curtain.
The first Kabaka to be buried at Kasubi tombs was Muteesa I who was the 35th King . The dates of the reigns of the Kabakas are only precisely known from Kabaka Suuna II, who ruled from 1836 and 1856.
History, Buganda kabakas have always built their palaces on strategic hills to control the major roads to the Palace and find easy ways to escape in case of an invasion or rebellion. When they died , the traditional practice was to bury each Kabaka at a separate site to establish a royal shrine to house his jaw bone which was believed to contain his spirit at another site. These shrines were staffed by descendants of the Kabaka’s leading chiefs, his wives, his ritual half sister, and by spirit medium through which the dead Kabaka communicated with his successors. Many of the s shrines are still maintained today.