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Located in Kilimanjaro Region. Before Independence in 1961, Marangu used to be the headquarters of the Vunjo district led by Chief (Mangi Mwitori) Petro Itosi Marealle and Paramount Chief (Mangi Mkuu) Thomas Marealle, installed in 1951, who lived in Moshi itself. It is the centre of tourist trade, especially for climbers wanting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The four and half day Marangu Route climb is considered the least arduous. It is believed that the first man in history to have climbed Kibo peak on Kilimanjaro was Kinyala Johannes Lauwo (1871–1996) of Ashira Marangu. In 1889 he acted as guide for the first successful European ascent and in 1989 the West German government built him a house on his homestead to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the German-Austrian ascent.
Marangu has always been an important centre of the Lutheran church and Marangu Mamba was the home of Bishop Stefano Reuben Moshi (1906–76), Lutheran Bishop of Tanzania, and chief informant for Otto Raum's study on his family: "Chaga Childhood" Oxford University Press 1940 (reprinted 1996). The Lutheran Church has helped preserve the Vunjo (Marangu) dialect of KiChagga by producing prayer books, hymnals and the New Testament in that language.
Marangu is the site for Marangu Teacher Training College and Ashira Girls (Government) High School. Marangu was the earliest civilized society in Kilimanjaro having the best schools, hospitals,and infrastructures. There are a number of fine tourist hotels like Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort, Marangu Hotel,and Capricorn Hotel. The word "Marangu" means a place with too many water streams which made it to be known as the haven of Kilimanjaro due to the greenish sceneries and fresh air found in the area. It is one of the most popular places in Tanzania. One of the proverbs of Chagga is "Ulamine kilahu ulyemkiwoa" (not from the Vunjo dialect) which means do not despise something/somebody from which you once received support.