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  • Zanzibar, Tanzania
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STONE TOWN

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STONE TOWN

Stone Town also known as Mji Mkongwe, is the oldest town of Zanzibar and UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its rich cultural heritage of Arab, Persian, Indian, and European elements. The name "Stone Town" comes from the ubiquitous use of coral stones as the main construction materials, this stones gives the town a characteristic, reddish warm color.

The colorful history, unique architecture and its rich heritage can be seen in the strong Arabic, Indian, African, Persian and European influences that adds a vibrant dimension to the island. The Stone town is known for its numerous narrow alleys, old mansions and palaces, bazaars, intricate door carvings and Baraza (benches) run around verandahs outside traditional Swahili homes, used as meeting point for Zanzibari society.

The carvings on the wooden Zanzibar doors are all subtly different, and all have a particular meaning and reason for their details.  Some of them reflect social status and positions, while others reflect ethnicity, and others contain Islamic words or verses from the Quran.

There are a variety of attractions to visit in Stone Town including The Arab Fort (Ngome Kongwe) which is the oldest building and a major visitor attraction of Stone Town, Darajani market which is the main central market in Zanzibar, The Old Dispensary which served as a  first dispensary in Zanzibar in the first half of the 20th century, Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church, Hamamni Persian Baths, Malindi Mosque which is one of the oldest mosques in Zanzibar, St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Dhow Countries Music Academy which is a great place to get a feel for the local music style known as Taarab, Forodhani Gardens located in front of the most famous buildings of stone town i.e. the House of Wonders and the Old Fort, the Palace Museum which used to serve as a residence for the Sultan’s family, and the House of Wonders which is the largest architectural structure of the entire Zanzibar city. The House of Wonders was the only building in the whole island to own electricity and was the first in all of East Africa to connect two separate levels through a lift.

Stone Town also known as Mji Mkongwe, is the oldest town of Zanzibar and UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its rich cultural heritage of Arab, Persian, Indian, and European elements. The name "Stone Town" comes from the ubiquitous use of coral stones as the main construction materials, this stones gives the town a characteristic, reddish warm color.

The colorful history, unique architecture and its rich heritage can be seen in the strong Arabic, Indian, African, Persian and European influences that adds a vibrant dimension to the island. The Stone town is known for its numerous narrow alleys, old mansions and palaces, bazaars, intricate door carvings and Baraza (benches) run around verandahs outside traditional Swahili homes, used as meeting point for Zanzibari society.

The carvings on the wooden Zanzibar doors are all subtly different, and all have a particular meaning and reason for their details.  Some of them reflect social status and positions, while others reflect ethnicity, and others contain Islamic words or verses from the Quran.

There are a variety of attractions to visit in Stone Town including The Arab Fort (Ngome Kongwe) which is the oldest building and a major visitor attraction of Stone Town, Darajani market which is the main central market in Zanzibar, The Old Dispensary which served as a  first dispensary in Zanzibar in the first half of the 20th century, Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church, Hamamni Persian Baths, Malindi Mosque which is one of the oldest mosques in Zanzibar, St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Dhow Countries Music Academy which is a great place to get a feel for the local music style known as Taarab, Forodhani Gardens located in front of the most famous buildings of stone town i.e. the House of Wonders and the Old Fort, the Palace Museum which used to serve as a residence for the Sultan’s family, and the House of Wonders which is the largest architectural structure of the entire Zanzibar city. The House of Wonders was the only building in the whole island to own electricity and was the first in all of East Africa to connect two separate levels through a lift.

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