Siyu is the only town that built a fort of its own, unlike Mombasa and Lamu where the forts were put up by foreigners. Oral tradition indicate that the fort was built by one of Siyu’s leaders, Bwana Mataka, whose full name was Mohammed Ishaq bin Mbarak bin Mohamed bin Oman Famau in the 19th century to safeguard Siyu residents from Omani Arabs domination.
He also rebuilt much of the town including a fine stone mansion for himself, of which the remains are still to be seen. This fort constructed of coral with a small mosque within it, was gazetted in 1958 as a “National Monument”. Apart from the impressive fort, Siyu is host to the remains of magnificent tombs and mosques, while the present village is still known for its well-established leather craft, including sandals, belts and stools.