After Kili, we spent three days in Zanzibar, an island state within the United Republic of Tanzania, and has its own semi-autonomous government. Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, and several islets. It is characterized by beautiful sandy with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic – said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa.
We went to the old town after we landed.
First stop: the former Slave Market, located on the eastern side of Stone Town
During the reign of the Omani Arabs in the early 19th century, Zanzibar was the main slave trading point of East Africa. Slaves bought and caught on the mainland were shipped to Zanzibar, where they were re-sold and further transported to Seychelles, Mauritius, Oman and Persia. In those days, the slave market of Stone Town was easily accessible by sea, as the artificial extension of land had not occurred yet. 15 chambers under the earth were used for storing the slaves. The chambers had low ceilings and tiny windows. Sea water running through the damp rooms functioned as toilets. The slaves were chained on the bare stone, separated in male and female compartments. Many did not survive the cramped living conditions due to exhaustion and sickness.
In this small space 45 men fit in.
The Cathedral Church of Christ, also called the Cathedral of the Universities Mission in Central Africa (UMCA).
It stands on the site of the slave market, used in the 18th and 19th centuries when Zanzibar was a large slaving centre.
A group of UMCA missionaries had originally come to east Africa in 1861, following the call of the explorer David Livingstone to oppose the slave trade and spread Christianity across Africa. In 1864 they settled in Zanzibar, after a number of earlier sites proved unsuccessful. When the slave market was closed by Sultan Barghash in 1873 the missionaries bought the site and almost immediately started building the cathedral.
A memorial to the slave trade
depressing. i know.
We went to the market next. The market is a vibrant place where everything under the sun is bought and sold. People bring their produce here from all over the island, and other people come to buy things they can’t get in their own villages.
we got a bunch of spices.
Next we went to the only open restaurant in town. Only tourists were allowed to order food because it was the muslims one-month-fasting.
we all had crepes. mine was filled with dal and vegetables
delicious! oh…. btw, I fall in love with crepes!!!! I think I ate it everyday during my stay in Zanzibar. I can’t wait to make it at home!
happy to find a place to eat!
And then we went to Stone Town right away we arrived. Stone town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar, little changed in the last 200 years. It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors – there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork. We just spend the whole afternoonwandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways.
many girls and women dress like this
I was obsessed with the doors!
Stone town is just besides this beautiful beach.
we then visited the Palace Museum, a large white building with castellated battlements, and was built in the late 1890’s for members of the Sultan’s family. Originally called the Sultan’s Palace, in 1911 it became the official residence of the Sultan of Zanzibar, but following the revolution in 1964, it was renamed the Peoples’ Palace. In 1994, the palace was turned into a museum dedicated to the history of Zanzibar’s Sultans which necessitated a third change of name to the Palace Museum. For the first time, visitors can see much of the Sultans’ furniture and other possessions that survived the revolution.
That was our first day in Zanzibar! It was definitely the perfect place to be after Kili! 🙂
To be continued …