Three religions on the Ilha 

For more information on religions in Mozambique, please skip to the end of this page.

A Mesquita Verde -   This is the oldest mosque on the island. There are many others, but this was the most impressive and its speaker was the loudest. As a woman and  foreigner, I never felt comfortable going in.    





As Igrejas    The oldest Christian church on the island is inside the Portuguese fort, A Capela da Nossa Senhora do Baluarte. It was built in 1522 and is the oldest European building below the equator.  If you want to see it, you have to ask the guard to open it, usually it is locked. It's worth it to go in. Whitewashed, breezy and austere. There are graves with inscriptions in Latin, and a vaulted ceiling. 


Nossa Senhora da Saude  A view of the old hospital from the church. The hospital is an impressive building. Rooms are still used as a hospital, but it is mostly vacant.

















I found this information on Mozambican religions from the Instituto Nacional de Estatística website. It was hard to find information at all, but especially reliable information. Wikipedia did not have good information on Mozmabican Linguistics or Religion. I was shocked by the percentage of Mozambicans without a religion, but as is explained, this could be because many practice religions without a name or organization. I know in Monapo, ancestor worship was certainly a part of the culture and it could be that some don't know how to put a name on this. The information also fails to mention that Islam is more popular in the coastal regions, rural or not, because of the historical Arab influence.


Area of
N (000)







Christian (indeterminate)





Urban 3,757.7 100.0 25.2 17.7 21.7 8.8 2.7 1.3 1.9 17.8 2.8
Rural 8,779.1 100.0 23.2 17.9 15.7 7.4 4.0 2.5 1.5 25.4 2.5


 "The graph shows the distribution of the Mozambican population aged 5 and above, according to the religion or creed professed. The Catholic religion has most believers (23.8%). People without religion come close to sharing this first place with 23.1%. It is possible that some of these people in fact practice a non-organised religion such as, for instance, animist creeds. In third place are muslims (17.8%) and almost the same percentage are members of Zionist Christian churches (17.5%). The catholic religion has the most followers both in urban and rural areas. However, 25.4% of people in the countryside say they have no religion, and this is the largest group presented in Table 11.1. Finally, the Zionist churches are represented more in the urban areas, while the percentage of muslims is similar in both areas."


Ilha de Moçambique

   The Hindu Temple

Ironically, the temple is guarded by a Muslim man. I talked to him and he said there aren't any Hindus on the island anymore. The temple is supported by Hindus who don't live there. But anyone can enter. The altar is always decorated for whatever Hindu holiday is going on.


Don't be unnerved by the swastika. This was a Hindu and Buddhist symbol long before the Nazis hijacked it for their own use. It is actually a positive symbol in the right context.