Map of Stone Town : The Stone Town is the capital of Zanzibar and one of the remaining ancient towns “Swahili towns” in Africa, this ancient town features unique winding, narrow streets adorned with beautiful building though some of them are crumbling.
The Stone Town was established by Arab slave and spice traders in the 19th century and for some many years, it was used as a center for spice and slave trade.
Stone town is the cultural heart of Zanzibar and because of its beautiful and being a hot spot for culture it was listed among UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is right on the Indian Ocean and faces Tanzania’s mainland and commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
The Stone also known as Mji Mkongwe (a Swahili word for Old Town) is the old part of Zanzibar City located on the western coast of Ugunja which is the main island of the Archipelago. The newer portion of the city is known as Ng’ambo a Swahili word for “the other side”
Stone Town is a former capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate, a flourishing center of the spice trade as well as slave trade in the 19th century, the town still retains its importance as the main city of Zanzibar during the British Protectorate.
Stone Town is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa, its architecture mostly dating back to the 19th century reflects the diverse influence underlying the Swahili culture giving a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements.
Geography of the Stone Town
Stone Town is located roughly in the middle of the west coast of Unguja on a small promontory protruding into the Zanzibar Channel, the closest major settlement on the Tanzanian coast , opposite Stone Town is Bagamoyo (to the South – west).
Stone Town is part of Zanzibar City which also include the New City of Ng’ambo “the other side” which mostly extends in the interior of Unguja to the south – east. The diving line between Stone Town and Ng’ambo is Creek Road.
Stone Town History
The Stone Town gets its name from the Ornate House built with local stone by Arab traders and slavers during the 19th Century, the stone town was a center for slave trade and it is estimated to around 600,000 slaves were sold through Zanzibar between 1830 – 1863. In 1863 a treaty was signed to abolish the slave trade, agreed to by the British and the Omani Sultans that were ruling Zanzibar by this time
Stone Town was also an important based used by many European explorers including David Livingstone, the ornate trellises and balconies on some of the buildings reflect this later European influence.
When Tanganyika and Zanzibar joined each other to form the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar kept a semi – autonomous status with Stone Town as its local government seat.
HOW TO GET STONE TOWN
Stone Town is located on the western coast of Unguja which is the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, there are direct flights to Zanzibar City offered by several airlines such as Condor, Jetfly, Ethiopian Airways, Kenyan Airways, Oman Air, Qatar Airlines, Arkia Israeli Airlines, KLM, FlyDubai, Meridian, Fasyjet, Mango and Turkish Airlines.
You can take a 20-minute flight from Dar es Salaam to the airport in Zanzibar.
There is a ferry operating from the harbor in the center of Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar City, it runs four times a day, the ferry takes approximately 2 hours. The Zanzibar ferry terminal is located within walking distance of Stone Town.
There are plenty of transportation options used to get around Stone Town.
- Use a Dala – Dala
- Renting a motorbike
- on foot.