Intrigues Of The Zanzibar Stone Town

January 18, 2011 by In The News  
Filed under Internet Marketing Orlando

Mji Mkongwe (in Swahili) or Stone town is the traditional part of Zanzibar Metropolis, the capital of the island of Zanzibar, part of the East African state of Tanzania. Stone Town is an enjoyable place to saunter around aimlessly and expertise a living history.

The stone city is constructed on the western coast of the island. It consists of narrow alleys, houses, retailers, bazaars and mosques. To get across the city one has to make use of bicycles or motorbikes because the inner streets are too slim for vehicles to drive into. Stone Town has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The history of the stone city goes again to when Zanzibar was the principle trading port of East Africa. The Swahili architecture of the stone city incorporates components of historic Persian, Arab, European (Portuguese/British), Indian and African styles. The proof may be seen within the archaic buildings that make up the stone town.

The two buildings that dominate the seafront of Stone Town are Beit-El-Ajaib or the House of Wonders and the Arab fort.


The Arab Fort stands on the location of a former Portuguese Church and residential quarters and was converted to a fort for the town garrison in the course of the 18th Century. The Mazrui Arab dynasty from Mombasa (Kenya) made an unsuccessful try to seize the fort in 1754. The skilfully carved Arab door of the principle entrance, was up to now in a home belonging to Sultan Seyyid Khaled bin Mohammed

The fort has been restored and now homes the Zanzibar Cultural centre. It is open to visitors and contains outlets, a restaurant and an historic Greek-styled amphitheatre. That is the place the annual Zanzibar International Film Competition is held each July and attracts movie and culture lovers from throughout the globe.

The Arab Fort hosts the Zanzibar Festivals. Which includes the

i)Zanzibar Festival of the Dhow Nations- This festival includes theatre, conventional and up to date music, exhibition of paintings, crafts and sculptures. The Festival is held beginning 30 June to ninth July every year.

ii)Zanzibar International Film Festival: – This held together with the pageant of the dhow countries.

iii)The Zanzibar Cultural Festival- This takes place for a complete week in July, it brings collectively musicians from totally different components of the world.

The Mambo Club, the place music performances and DJ classes are held, can be housed in the Arab fort.


The Home of Wonders was constructed by Sultan Seyyid Barghash (1870-1888) as a grand palace for ceremonial purposes. It was the primary constructing to have electric lights therefore its name. It survived British bombardment in 1896 and both Sultan Seyyid Hamud (1896-1902) and Sultan Seyyid Ali bin Hamud (1902-1911) dwelled in the home of wonders, earlier than it housed Government places of work in 1911. It is topped by a big clock tower and surrounded by tiers of pillars and balconies. At the entrance are two high-quality Portuguese bronze guns made in the course of the sixteenth century captured from the Portuguese by Persians with the help of the British.The Home of Wonders has at present been restored and re-opened as a museum. It’s believed to be constructed on lifeless slaves and black criminals’ bodies.


Under the House of Wonders, by the pier, is the favored Forodhani Gardens, the place locals collect in the night and market stalls sell food and drinks. The dancing and flickering flames of kerosene lamps, tin lamps and charcoal jikos add a beautiful ambiance to the evening market. Evenings in Zanzibar are about communing. You will discover folks (mostly males) in small teams discussing and kids nonetheless playing. There is an unbelievable number of recent seafood like squid, crab, tuna and prawn that will likely be grilled by the vendors as you watch. Meat kebabs, chips and chilli sauce are additionally available. The sugar cane juice can also be a refreshing treat. There may be additionally a small curio and souvenirs market. REMEMBER that is Africa and BARGAIN! BARGAIN! BARGAIN! for anything you buy within the market. Earlier in the day a trip to the native market and buying some of the fabulous selection of fruit out there in Zanzibar is recommended.


The Anglican Church of Christ was built between 1874 and 1882 to commemorate the end of the slave trade. It was constructed on the positioning of a slave market that was closed down earlier in 1873. The Church remains to be in use. The exterior walls are lined by crenulations and recesses ending in tri-foil arches. The clock on the tower was a present from Sultan Seyyid Barghash. One can even see the stain glass window within the cathedral that depicts Christ as an African and the cross in cathedral commemorating David Livingstone a missionary and explorer. The only remaining proof of the slave actions are the underground chambers at the St. Monica hostel.

Freddy Mercury’s House on Kenyatta Road.

In case you didn’t know, Zanzibar is known as the start place of Freddie Mercury, who used to be the lead singer of the band QUEEN.


Constructed round 1860, north of the town, this was a base for many European missionaries and explorers as they tried journeys into the mainland Tanzania then referred to as Tanganyika. David Livingstone, missionary and well-known explorer, stayed here in 1866 for a couple of weeks till his ultimate expedition. This home was given to David Livingstone by Sultan Seyyid Said. In some unspecified time in the future in its history, the building was used as a relaxation home for invalids and for non secular meetings, by the Ithnaasheri Khoja Community. In 1947 the federal government purchased it. It presently homes the Zanzibar Tourist Corporation.

The Old Dispensary.

This grand 4-storey building found near the sea entrance on Mizingani Road It was built initially as a non-public house for a widely known Ismaili Indian merchant, Tharia Topan, within the 1890s. Topan was one of many wealthiest people in Zanzibar at the time and a customs advisor to the Sultans. In 1899 he is mentioned to have given up the home for use as a dispensary, also funding the treatment and different services. It fell into disrepair during the 1970s and Eighties, however was renovated with funding from the Aga Khan Belief for Tradition in 1996 and opened as the Stone City Cultural Centre.

Palace Museum ( Beit el-Sahal)

This was a palace, which was the residence of the Sultan until 1964 when when Sultan Jamshid was overthrown. It is at the moment a museum exhibiting the era of the rule of Sultans in Zanzibar. It was first occupied by Sultan Khalifa in 1911 when ascended to the throne. The palace also accommodated the Royal family and the Sultan’s harem. After the 1964 Revolution, it was used by the Zanzibar Authorities for Cupboard conferences and for gatherings of the Revolutionary Council

The Nationwide Museum (Beit el Amani or House of Peace)

It showcases sections of archaeology, early commerce and ships, slavery, palaces, mosques, sultans, explorers, clove oil manufacturing, conventional crafts and household items.

Hahamni Persian Baths

These were the first public baths in Zanzibar. They had been constructed by Sultan Barghash within the late 1890′s. They’re not in use but are open for public viewing at a small entry cost. The constructing was constructed using coral rag with lime stucco rendering. The exterior look is apparent with only an ornamental dentil frieze on the upper part, surrounded by a crenulated parapet.


Mosque’s are scattered all around the town. They’re all impressive and with a rich history. The oldest is the Msikiti wa Balnara (Balnara/Malindi Mosque) in-built 1831 by Mohammed Abdul Qadir el Mansabi, whose stays are buried infront of the Mihrab. Entry into the mosques is made only if guests are appropriately dressed. Not like other mosques, it has a minaret embellished with a double chevron pattern. The Aga Khan mosque is a two storied building with magnificent designs on the outer walls.

There are some good bars around the Zanzibar town. Africa house is a particularly good one with a fantastic view. Positioned on the 1st flooring it is a great spot for a sun downer. Nevertheless if you want a correct view of the solar setting a sundown dhow cruise will be in order. The sundown tour begins an hour before sunset. The friends are picked from their inns and transported to the drop off point at the sea front, the place they board the dhow. The seasoned crew on board take the dhow about a kilometre away from the shore by means of an engine, once out within the sea the engine is shut off and the sail is put up. When the sail is in favour of the wind, the dhow glides through the water and the guests can sit back and relax. The marvel of the fiery golden solar setting past the horizon can then be loved over a glass of wine.

The traditional art form of Zanzibar hand-carved doorways and chests mirrored within the brass-studded, carved, picket doorways dot the town and similar hand made artefacts will be purchased. One also can do Spice excursions, go dolphin watching, or scuba diving from the stone town.

The resort lodging accessible on the stone city consists of Serena Resort, Tembo Home Resort, Emerson & Inexperienced hotel, Dhow Palace and the Beyt al Chai, an unique boutique hotel.

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Originally posted 2010-09-06 10:55:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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