Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania
GPS: -6.1612953751736, 39.18928351751
Stone Town (Mji Mkongwe in Swahili) is the historic district and the heart of the old city of Zanzibar. Located on the western coast of the semi-autonomous island of Unguja, about thirty kilometres from mainland Tanzania, it enjoys a prominent cultural and artistic heritage.
Zanzibar City owns a unique architectural destination in the world. This is based on very different cultural influences (African, Middle Eastern, European and Indian) and spans more than a millennium of history. It is in the Stone Town district that the city’s heritage stands out with its magnificent houses or palaces built in coral rock. The main islands of Zanzibar (Unguja, Pemba and Mafia) as well as Stone Town are used primarily by the Persians as a maritime base for the spice trade. Then, Portuguese, Indians, Yemenis, Omanis and British follow one another for the control of the Indian Ocean archipelago. Attached to the Sultanate of Oman in the 19th century, Zanzibar became a stronghold for the trade of ivory and spices (including pepper, cinnamon and especially cloves nicknamed locally black gold). The archipelago is also a hub for the black slave trade. David Livingstone, Scottish doctor and explorer, illustrates himself by succeeding in adopting a treaty which imposed on the sultan of Zanzibar the prohibition of slave trafficking in 1873. This exotic land came under British control in 1890 and the archipelago obtained independence late, in 1963. After the event of the Zanzibar revolution in 1964 (popular movement against the Arab-speaking elite which concentrates the local power), the archipelago merged with the territory of Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Today, about 16,000 people live in the old quarter of the Stone City against just over 200,000 inhabitants for the city of Zanzibar.
The majority of the buildings of Stone Town of Zanzibar were constructed of coral stone in the 19th century, a material with reddish colours particularly brittle. The city’s narrow street labyrinth will travel you to the time of ancient sultans and great Persian, Omani or Arab merchants. The local Swahili culture, marked by its cosmopolitan character, today testifies to the multi-cultural richness of Zanzibar, a city in full evolution under urban pressure. This large place of spice production has a culinary art particularly appreciated by its visitors. It promises a tour of the world of flavours in a vibrant, serene and warm atmosphere surrounded by heavenly beaches.