Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya. Lying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry. Also known as Mombas in colonial times, its name derives from Manbasa. This was the Arabic name of the former sultanate of Mvita, which had its capital here. In modern times the town is the headquarters of Mombasa District, which, like most other districts in Kenya, is named after its chief town. The city has a population of 939,370, as per the 2009 census, and is located on Mombasa Island, which is separated from the mainland by two creeks: Tudor Creek and Kilindini Harbour.
The island is connected to the mainland to the north by the Nyali Bridge, to the south by the Likoni Ferry and to the west by the Makupa Causeway, alongside which runs the Kenya-Uganda Railway. The port serves both Kenya and countries of the interior, linking them to the Ocean. The city is served by Moi International Airport located in the northwest mainland suburb of Chaani, northwest of Changamwe area. The city is mainly occupied by the Muslim Mijikenda/Swahili people. Over the centuries, there have been many immigrants and traders who settled in Mombasa, particularly from Iran, the Middle East, Somalia and the Indian sub-continent, who came mainly as traders and skilled craftsmen.