Stone Town Zanzibar

Stone Town Zanzibar

Stone Town is situated within the western Coast of Unguja, the major Island in the Zanzibar Archipelago of Tanzania and extends for about 96 hectares. This City is a popular cultural and historical City with unique architectural designs dating back to the 19th century. These artistic designs are a mirror image of the diverse influences of the basic Swahili culture blended with European, Arab, Indian and Persian traditions. Because of its uniqueness and authenticity, Stone Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 and undoubtedly a wonderful historical and cultural site in Tanzania.

Popular Tourist sites in Stone Town

Old Fort

Old Fort is one of the historical sites in Stone Town and is marked by a heavy stone fortress believed to be constructed by the Omanis during the 17th Century, thus sometimes being known as the “Omani Fort”. It was put up by the early occupants of the area to protect their City from European invasions/settlers.

The Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church

The Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church is located along Mkunazini Road and was constructed by Edward Steere, third Bishop of Zanzibar City at the end of the 19th Century. The Cathedral sites in an extensive area at the heart of Stone Town that once hosted the largest slave trade market of Zanzibar. This place was particularly selected to mark the end of slavery and the altar of the Church was in the exact place where the main flogging place of the slave trade market used to be. Besides the Cathedral is a monument to slaves as well as a Museum on the history of slavery in Zanzibar.

The House of Wonders

The House of Wonders is also known as the Palace of Wonders, found along the Mizingani road along the spectacular Stone Town seafront and is one of the most popular landmarks in this Town. Also referred as Beit-al-Ajaib, the House of Wonders was constructed in 1883 and renovated after the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896. It is also known as former Sultan’s residence and was surprisingly the first building in Zanzibar to receive electricity. The building has since 2000 become the Palace Museum where culture of Zanzibar and Swahili is exhibited.

Palace Museum

The Palace Museum is renowned for being one of the Sultan’s former Palaces, sitted north of the House of Wonders. It was set up in the late 19th century and also showcases the daily life of the Zanzibari Royal family with some items believed to belong to Sayyida Salme, a former Zanzibar Princess that went to exile in Europe with her husband.

Forodhani Gardens

The magnificent Forodhani Gardens are a small leisure Park in the major sea walk of Stone Town, along the Coast of the Indian Ocean. These gardens are set in front of the House of Wonders and Old Fort, and if you wish to spend a quiet evening while enjoying mouth-watering grilled seafood as well as other Zanzibar dishes, just visit the Forodhani Gardens.

Other popular historical landmarks in Stone Town are the Slavery Memorial, Malindi Mosque (the oldest Mosque in Stone Town), the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph built by the French Missionaries between 1893 and 1897, the Arab Fort constructed on top of an older Portuguese Church in the late 17th Century as a defense strategy against the inhabiting Portuguese forces and the Old Dispensary constructed by the wealthy Indian Trader from 1887 to 1894 as a charity Hospital for the underprivileged but later became a dispensary. You can also visit Changuu Island (also Prison Island) about 20 minutes’ boat ride from Stone Town and it’s where you can see numerous Tortoises some of which have lived even up to 200 years.

Best Time to Visit Stone Town

The best time to Stone Town is during the dry season-June to September and December to February. However, tourist activities in this Town take place all year round.

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