Friday, May 08, 2009

Zanzibar: Stone Town

We arrived in Stone Town in the late evening during a tropical rainstorm, after our plane from mainland Tanzania had been delayed for hours. We were exhausted and desperately craving a warm shower and a cozy bed. I'd made reservations at a hotel, but when our taxi dropped us off we were in for a surprise - they had no record of it and were fully booked! The owner got on the phone and after a few calls found another room in a hotel across town... (Yuko took the photos)

Stone Town turned out to be as sublime as my imagination suggested. Once known as the "Spice Islands," Zanzibar was also the center of the Arab slave trade. There are still some holding cells at the Anglican Cathedral, the site of a former slave market.

Stone Town is the historic area of Zanzibar City and its architecture is an intricate blend of Swahili, Arab, Indian, Persian and Portuguese/European styles.

The people were very friendly...

Islam is the dominant religion and the Malindi Bamnara Mosque dates from the 17th century:

Zanzibar is also a mecca for fans of Farrokh Bulsara, former lead singer of a band called Queen. There's now a restaurant called "Mercury's" in Stone Town and it specializes in pizza and pasta - alright!

After a few nights we went over to the east coast and stayed at Matemwe for some scuba and beaching.

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