Zanzibar…..Stone Town, a world heritage site! Home/Escale/Zanzibar…..Stone Town, a world heritage site!

Zanzibar…..Stone Town, a world heritage site! Home/Escale/Zanzibar…..Stone Town, a world heritage site!

Zanzibar…..Stone Town, a world heritage site!

Zanzibar is a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa. The archipelago, also known as Spice Islands, was famous worldwide for its cloves and other spices, and plantations were developed to grow them. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania. It consists of many small islands and two large ones: Unguja, the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar and Pemba. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja.

It is on the island of Unguja that I landed transiting in Nairobi from South Africa. The Unguja airport is small and unattractive. It seems as if time has stopped there. Arriving on a night flight, I was eager to get to my hotel situated some five minutes from the airport. The Zanzibar Beach resort boasts a long strip of beach. I couldn’t wait to discover the place.

First, let me tell you what brought me here. The African Union was holding a training on “Building Capacity on Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Youth and Women Empowerment” For the next few days we were going to have a a fully fledged programme around the theme in exotic Zanzibar. In the evening, I would explore the historic centre of Zanzibar City which is Stone Town, a World Heritage Site. I marveled at the narrow alleys of Stone Town, carved doorways steeped in history.

The name Zanzibar is derived from the Persian “Zang-bar” meaning “black coast”. The most important architectural features in Stone Town are the Livingstone house, the Old dispensary of Zanzibar, the Guliani Bridge, Ngome Kongwe (the old fort of Zanzibar) and the House of Wonders, a former sultan’s palace. The town of Kidichi features the Hamamni Persian Baths , built by the immigrants from Shiraz, Iran during the reign of Barghash bin Said.

Shaped by a turbulent history from slave traders and sultans to pirates and princesses, Zanzibar has an identity of its own. It is from this tiny island, explorers planned journeys deep into the heart of Africa, slaves relinquished their last hopes of freedom, mighty empires were built, battles waged and merchants amassed vast fortunes from the fragrant clove bud.

Despite its tiny size, Zanzibar holds an almost legendary status among travelers as an exotic island paradise blessed with palm fringed shores, timeless fishing village and lush spice plantations. Arab dhows drift across the turquoise waters,elegant in their simplicity beside the lumbering bulk of vast container ships anchored offshore.

Soon it was time to pack and I had to leave the dazzling beaches and coral reefs, cobbled streets of Stone town with the smell of spice. Zanzibar boasts an incredible history coupled with a fascinating culture which draw tourists to its shores…..a unique African experience!

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