Charming, captivating and mysterious. This is why Stone Town is a big buzz when you visit the tropical island of Zanzibar. You will be carried away by the small shops in the narrow alleys to buy t-shirts, spices or fridge magnets, but history waits to unveil as you meander from one street to another and explore a picture, larger than life.
One may be deceived by the vibrancy; the excited visitors, the overwhelming hospitality of Zanzibaris and the holiday buzz on the spice island. As one enters Stone Town, it’s a moment of nostalgia, a city that will take you back to time, hundred years back. For whatever you experience here, is a reflection of a strong past, rich, complex and extremely captivating. Karibuni Stone Town, a place to explore the depths of history framed in present and the rarest of vintage cities claimed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
An entire city made in coral stone, unpainted walls of popular landmarks and an unchanging architecture for new establishments. You can only imagine the great influence of four strong ethnicities; Swahili, Indian, Arab and European reflected in the buildings, most dating back to the 18thand 19th centuries.Besides admiring the historical buildings, here are some more things to do in Stone Town.
It seems like a customary tradition but more than that a heartfelt desire of every Zanzibari to make you feel at home. The glimmering eyes of a 10 year old girl in hijab, a babu sitting on the baraza or a tour guide at the historical site all have it naturally to wish the guests with warmth and love.
A maze of narrow alleys with several curio shops, boutique hotels in aromatic spice scents, bicycles meandering and solemn prayers from the mosques are some unique experiences in Stone Town. It is also astonishing to galore at most buildings that retain the classic architecture including new establishments; wooden stairs, mosaic glasses, traditional windows and the most attractive of all, long carved wooden doors studded with brass or metal uniformly seen across all entrances.
The historical influence of the Sultan, Colonial rule and rich traditions persists till date well reflected in the monuments lined on the main road. The Old Fort built in stone where international film and music festivals are held, The House of Wonder built by Sultan Burghash of Oman, The religious buildings; The Anglican and Catholic Churches, Malindi Mosque and Arya Samaj Temple, Jamat Khana and the Slave Market; landmarks that show the prominence of historical, cultural and architectural influences prevalent and intact till date.
Spice Island is most famous for its beaches and luxury resorts. As an explorer, Stone Town is a place for a unique stopover, an explorers paradise to celebrate a rich and infamous history of Zanzibar echoing in the architecture, people and culture of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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