Stone Town in Zanzibar isn’t just any town. It is an amazing experience.
Of course, the beaches in Zanzibar island, or small villages like Jambiani: Where to find the real Zanzibar are beautiful, but Stone Town captivated us! The history of African, Arab, Indian and European cultures, the vibrant energy of the seafront and markets, the locals living in a little bit poor conditions of narrow aisles. Welcome in Stone Town, the main city of Zanzibar. We’ve spent in this town just one night and two days. It’s enough to see the most important parts of the city, especially with a local guide by Asmaa Tours Zanzibar, but still pitiful little to really enjoy the atmosphere. So, what you can see in just one day?
1, Wander down the narrow aisles
The heart of Stone Town mostly consists of a maze of narrow aisles lined by houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. Since most streets are too narrow for cars, the town is crowded with bicycles, motorbikes and can be easily explored by foot. If you lose yourself, the locals won’t hesitate to guide you.
2, Explore the grand architecture
The buildings, most of which date back to the nineteenth century, have their own stories. Some of them, however, have been transformed into hotels and museums.
3, Admire the famous Zanzibari doors
You won’t find these giant wooden masterpieces anywhere else in the world. The heavy doors in Stone Town are a glimpse into the homeowner’s place of origin, profession and economic status.
4, Visit Darajani Market
This market frequented by mostly locals has everything from noise and colours, to raw meat or animals from all over the island.
5, Views of the sea
If you would like to enjoy the breeze, you can go to the city beach, or enjoy the view of the sea from one of the bars or buildings.
6, Visit the Old Fort
Old Fort was built by the Omani Arabs in the early eighteenth century as a defence against the Portuguese. By the nineteenth century, it was a prison where criminals were executed. Today, you will find there shops, a restaurant, cultural centre and open-air theatre for musical performances.
7, Visit the Old Dispensary
Continue along the seafront and you don’t miss this building with the most magnificent balconies in Stone Town. Building dates back to 1894 when it served as a charitable hospitable for the poor. Inside, you’ll find a shop and travel agency on the ground floor. Entrance is free.
Streets of Stone Town are lined with shops selling everything from spices and t-shirts to solid-wood carvings and chests. You can find there also Aladdin pants, dresses, or jewellery. You should bargain:-)
8, Beautiful sunset
Imagine the most amazing summer evening, a light breeze, a stunning drink and a unique view of the mosques, cathedrals, or old buildings of Stone Town. And beautiful sunset of course:-) We have experienced from the rooftop bar of Maru Maru Hotel Zanzibar.
9, Visit St. Joseph Cathedral
Built by French missionaries in 1898, this cathedral still holds regular service for Stone Town’s Catholic community. Do you know, that it was designed by the same French architect who designed the Notre Dame Basilica in Marseilles, France?
10, Visit Mercury House and Mercury’s
The British songwriter, entertainer and powerful lead vocalist of Queen was born in Stone Town to a middle-class family of Persian descent and Zoroastrian faith. He spent his first years here before getting sent off to school in India. This place is located in the same building as Zanzibar Gallery on Kenyatta Road.