Funi Aziri Bangwe

World Monuments Watch
Ikoni, Grande Comore, Comoros

2014 World Monuments Watch

Funi Aziri Bangwe is a historic open space in the city of Ikoni on Ngazidja Island, located in the Comoros in the Indian Ocean between the African continent and Madagascar. Named after the young crown prince of Hambu, it is a remarkable example of a seventeenth-century bangwe, or public square. Today it is used primarily as a site for weddings, heritage ceremonies, and traditional dances and rituals that define the local community. Irregularly shaped, Funi Aziri is the largest of three bangwes in Ikoni, with three doors that provide access from the public medina. Stone benches line the bangwe for public seating.

Though it is still actively used, the bangwe has historically been primarily of local interest. Its inclusion in the 2014 World Monuments Watch provided an opportunity to bring international attention to the value and needs of the site. The gate of the square is severely deteriorated and partially collapsed, and in order for Funi Aziri to remain useable for future generations the site requires a formal conservation plan and applied interventions. Local advocates are already highly active at the square, but broader awareness and support are necessary in order to restore and preserve both the tangible and intangible symbolic qualities associated with Funi Aziri.

Last updated: July 2017.

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