A historic walk through Stone Town
Zanzibar’s capital is on the west coast, Stone Town is known as the old quarter of Zanzibar Town, and it is classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is clear that this is a place steeped in history, as the dense housing mixes with the rustic mosques and palaces built in the 19th century, during its height as a trading centre.
The Beit-al-Ajaib or “Palace Of Wonders” has been converted into a museum, and gives a detailed insight to the culture in Zanzibar. On the third floor are balconies that encircle the building, allowing you to see into the Old Arab Fort, into the heart of stone town, and across the bay. This is an excellent viewing point, and whilst there is a fee for entry to the building, it is a good place to start, giving a great perspective onto Stone Town below.
Continue walking on foot, in which loosing your way through the narrow streets and alleyways is the best way to experience Stone Town. As you pass through these winding streets off from Mizingani road on the waterfront, discover the famous doors of Zanzibar. These are ornately carved wooden doors, decorated with elaborate iron and brass work, embedded within the old buildings. These doors combine a mix of Swahili, Omani and Indian influences and are a reminder of the complex history that Zanzibar contains.
Once you have found your bearings, head to the Anglican Cathedral, which is around 400m from The Palace Of Wonders. The Cathedral’s unique architecture is a mix of Islamic and gothic detailing. Built on the site of Zanzibar’s biggest slave Market, the Slave trade memorial here highlights how the history of Zanzibar, and Stone Town in particular is entangled in the stories and routes of the slave trade.