While many fans believe he was a native of Kingston, Jamaica, the city where Bob Marley was born is actually Nine Mile in the parish of Saint Ann. Found in the northern part of the small island, Nine Mile is a completely rural part of the country, especially when compared to the vacation-friendly capital of Kingston.
In his teenage years, the infamous singer would move to the Trenchtown part of Kingston, where he would live out the majority of his life. Yet, after passing in 1981, Bob Marley’s body was brought back to the city where he was born and laid to rest near his brother. In tribute to the city’s fallen son, Nine Mile residents have erected shrines to Bob and the Marley family around his childhood home.
Whatever you’ve heard or known about Jamaica is completely erased once you’re in the sacred land of Nine Mile. There is something heavy in the air that alerts you to the spiritual weight of this town. Something special in the soil, which not only gives the region its fair share of bananas and coffee beans, but it is the land that gave the world Bob Marley. If you’ve never been, pack a pair of on-ear headphones, immerse yourself in the music of Marley and check out these three significant spots in Nine Mile.
The Marley Homestead
The tiny Marley home in Nine Mile, the city where Bob Marley was born, is no bigger than 300 square feet. With two rooms, one acting as a bedroom and the other for family gatherings, the house is quaint, but offers a homey feeling. Outside of the home, you’ll see the kitchen, which features an open fire pit made of rocks, and find the entire property painted in the
traditional Ethiopian colors of
green, yellow and red.
The Marley Mausoleum
Following the wishes of his mother Cedella Booker Marley, Bob was laid to rest in a mausoleum on the Marley family property next to his brother. Buried in 1981, Marley was placed in a casket with his beloved Gibson Les Paul and a bible opened to Psalm 23 in this unique Ethiopian themed church. The journey to the Marley mausoleum is a special one as the grounds are the same place where he was born and lived out his youth. It provides a spiritual experience that can hardly be replicated anywhere else in Jamaica.
The Rasta Rock Pillow
In front of the mausoleum in which Bob Marley is buried, there is a famed rock that is said to have been a spot of inspiration for the late singer. Vaguely resembling a flat pillow, locals say that Marley would lay his head on the stone, an act which the songwriter later recounted in his song “Talkin’ Blues” from the Natty Dread album.