Stone town Zanzibar is an old and historic town on Zanzibar island which is located on the western coast of Unguja. This prominent town has been in existence since the 19th century and Stone town is also known for its architecture. Stone town is found in the oldest part of Zanzibar island and it is also referred to as Mji Mkongwe.
Stone town is also a UNESCO world heritage site which is known for the diversity in culture with Arab, Persian, Indian and European influence. The name of the town also originates from the type of architecture found in the town which were built from stone by Arab traders.
The buildings found in Stone town are built using coralline rag stone and other materials. Buildings in stone town are also known for the carved double doors which are popular spots for tourists who take photos around these doors when visiting the town. The buildings are also known for having wide verandas, richly decorated interiors and open courtyards.
Along the streets of Stone town there are also shops which display different items for sale. Guided walks can also be done along the narrow alleyways of Stone town when visiting Zanzibar island.
Some of the places to visit during a tour around Stone town include the Old fort, the house of wonders, the old dispensary, the Malindi Bamnara mosque, Persian baths, the palace musuem which was the former home of the sultan of Zanzibar among others. Stone town is also known for being a place where trade was carried out between Asia and Africa.
Slave trade was also carried out in Stone town and Zanzibar was among the major ports where slaves were brought from other East African countries. Stone town also has one of the largest open slave trade markets. Slaves were brought from the mainland and were taken in dhows across the Indian ocean and currently dhows are also used as a means of transport when visiting the island. Dhow cruises are done in the morning or in the evening and in places like Nungwi, you can also get an experience of seeing how the dhows are built.
At the slave market in stone town, slaves were kept in underground rooms before they were taken for auctioning. a small entrance led to the rooms where the slaves were kept which was small since the slaves were very many and this led to suffocation of many of the slaves and others also starved to death. Women and men were kept in separate rooms during the slave trade in Zanzibar and children were kept in the same room as the women.
Tours can also be done to the old slave market site in Zanzibar which is an Anglican cathedral. A tour of the old slave market in Zanzibar costs around 5 USD which is a fee for a guided tour of the destination that can be done with the help of a local guide.
During a tour , tourists can enjoy getting to know more about the way of life of the people of Zanzibar and also visit the different attractions around the island. You can also taste the local food during a tour in Stone town.
Forodhani market is among the places to visit when in Stone town and it is a food market where you can get a taste of a wide range of foods during a tour in Zanzibar. The market is right by the sea and the food prepared is affordable with a wide range of food on sale including meat, fish, coconut bread, cassava, chapatti among others. Various tropical fruits like mangoes, coconut, and pineapple among others are also sold in the market.
Apart from being an island with sand, sea and sun, Zanzibar island is also referred to as the spice island. During tours around the island, you can combine your tour of Stone town with a visit to the spice farms around the island and get to know more about how the spices are grown, taste local food prepared using the spices and after the tour, you can also purchase some of the spices like vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves among others.
Stone town language
It is known for its cultural diversity however, the language which is commonly spoken on the island is Swahili. English is also spoken on the island as well as many other languages and Arabic is also spoken.
The people in Stone town are mostly of Islam faith and during tours in Stone town you will hear the call of prayer. It is also for this reason that travellers are encouraged to dress decently when visiting Zanzibar island as a way of respecting the culture of the locals.
There are different places to stay around stone town during tours to Zanzibar island and these include hotels in the luxury, midrange and budget ranges. Some of the hotels around Stone town include Double tree inn by Hilton, Tembo house, Golden tulip, Dhow palace hotel, Zanzibar palace hotel, Zanzibar Serena hotel among others.
How to get there
When visiting Stone town, you can fly to Abeid Amani Karume international airport which is the main airport in Zanzibar. Another way to get to the island is by taking a ferry from Dar es Salaam to Stone town.
You can cycle, walk or take a car to get to Stone town during a tour around Zanzibar island.
Many other places can be visited during tours around Zanzibar island including swimming, snorkelling, diving, cultural tours and so much more.