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explore Stone Town, Tanzania

Explore Stone Town, Tanzania

Explore Stone Town the main city on Zanzibar. It is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture, with a unique mixture of Moorish, Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. For this reason, the town has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2000

Zanzibar International Airport is the only airport on the island. It is accessible via Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Kilimanjaro, and a growing number of other African and European airports.

What to see. Best top attractions in Stone Town, Tanzania.

  • Old Fort adjacent to the House of Wonders, is a heavy stone fortress that was built in the 17th century by the Omani. It has a roughly square shape; the internal courtyard is now a cultural centre with shops, workshops, and a small arena where live dance and music shows are held daily.
  • Palace Museum (Former Sultan’s Palace). (also known as the “Sultan’s Palace”, “Beit el-Sahel” in Arab) is another former sultan’s palace, also located on the seafront, to the north of the House of Wonders It was built in late 19th century, and now hosts a museum about the daily life of the Zanzibari royal family, including items that belonged to Sayyida Salme, a former Zanzibar princess that fled to relocate in Europe with her husband.
  • House of Wonders or “Palace of Wonders”, also known as “Beit-al-Ajaib”, in Mizingani Road on the seafront, is probably the most well-known landmarks of Stone Town. It was built in 1883 and restored after the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896. Former Sultan’s residence, it became the seat of the Afro-Shirazi Party after the revolution. It was the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity as well as the first building in East Africa to have a lift. Since 2000, its interior has been dedicated to a museum on Swahili and Zanzibar culture.
  • Livingstone’s House is a small palace that was originally built for Sultan Majid bin Said but later used by European missionaries. David Livingstone lived in the house while preparing his last expedition to the interior of Tanganyika.
  • Old Dispensary was built from 1887 to 1894 to serve as a charity hospital for the poor, but was later used as a dispensary. It is one of the most finely decorated buildings of Stone Town, with large carved wooden balconies, stained-glass windows, and neo-classical stucco adornments. After falling into decay in the 1970s and 1980s, the building was later accurately restored by the AKTC.
  • Anglican Cathedral. Purchased by missionaries, the church sits atop the world’s last slave market. The altar is said to be built over the market’s whipping post.
  • Hamamni Persian Baths are a complex of public baths built at the end of the 19th century by Shirazi architects for Sultan Barghash bin Said. These baths are not open anymore but are open to visitors. Visits are limited to some areas of the original complex because part of it (e.g., the restaurant) has since been adapted for private residences.
  • Forodhani Gardens are a small park located in the main seawalk of Stone Town, right in front of the Old Fort and the House of Wonders. They have been recently restored by the AKTC. Every evening after sunset the gardens host a popular, tourist-oriented market selling grilled seafood and other Zanzibari recipes.

What to do in Stone Town, Tanzania.

  • Roam around Stone town appreciating the Historical buildings

What to buy

Fahari Zanzibar, 62 Kenyatta Road, Stone Town (Near the Post Office and Mercury House). 09:00 – 18:00. Fahari Zanzibar is a Social Enterprise, registered as an NGO, making boutique quality accessories and jewelry using crafts and materials originating in Zanzibar. Visit the large open workshop & school on Kenyatta Road, where you can watch bags, jewelry and other accessories being skillfully manufactured and buy directly from the women producers. By buying from Fahari you will be receiving an exceptional original product whilst supporting local women build a sustainable future. Luxury goods – some smaller low priced gifts. 

Official tourism websites of Stone Town

For more information please visit the official government website: 

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