Find the largest city in the Zanzibar Archipelago in the heart of the west coast of Unguja Island, or Zanzibar. Stone Town is named after the coralline buildings that were erected during the 19th century and have remained largely unchanged.
Discover a fine example of a Swahili East Africa coastal trading town. Stone Town retains its urban fabric and townscape and contains many fine buildings that reflect its particular culture. This is a rich conglomeration of the diverse and fascinating cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India and Europe over more than a millennium.
Wander around the town and see how easily this coralline stone is eroded - a large number of buildings are in a bad state of repair. There is a restoration process going on thanks to the harmonising efforts of the Zanzibar Conservation Authority. Explore all of the major hotels on the island, most of which are housed in restored buildings.
Photograph a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets and cobbled alleyways that lead to mosques, palaces and Arab houses. Enter tiny shops selling Zanzibari clocks, tingatinga paintings and heavily ornamented chests. The cobbled streets are too narrow for vehicles but bicycles and motorcycles whizz past. Take time to admire this quaint town on foot.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for its buildings, culture and history, this Zanzibar town is a mélange of cultures that include African, Arab, Asian and European. Stone Town is steeped in history which dates back to when it was an Arab trading centre for 2000 years.
HOMES FOR ALL
The town is home to over 16000 people today and more than 1700 buildings have been recorded. The tall houses are based on Arabic architecture with very thick walls, boasting Indian influences in the form of wooden balconies, carved doors and stairways. Some doors feature brass studs which originate from India.
NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED
Stone Town vibrates and can be noisy! But there is nowhere you can stay that will guarantee you quietude.The best time to visit this charming, vibrant town is in December to February when it is mostly dry and hot, or June to October which is drier with cooler temperatures.
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