Day 12: Visit to Stone Town, Zanzibar
Originally uploaded by gubbex.
With a population counting roughly 200.000, Stone Town is the largest city on Zanzibar and as of the year 2000 listed on UNESCOs list of World Heritage Sites. They say:
“The Stone Town of Zanzibar is a fine example of the Swahili coastal trading towns of East Africa. It retains its urban fabric and townscape virtually intact and contains many fine buildings that reflect its particular culture, which has brought together and homogenized disparate elements of the cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe over more than a millennium.”
And while it IS true that Stone Town has a very interesting history given its role in trade – particularly with slaves and ivory, it is not really the bustling trading center of East Africa it once was. Stone Town of 2006 is a dirty and badly maintained shadow of its formerly prosperous self.
We went to Stone Town to experience what was left of the Oman capital away from Oman, and were not impressed with the state of the city. In fact we were probably only really impressed with the food at the Monsoon restaurant close to the Forodhani Gardens. One can only hope that the UNESCO status will help restore a bit of Stone Town’s former beauty.
In the picture you’ll see one of the many Daladalas that keep Unguja Island of Zanzibar connected. These mini buses drive all over the island to fixed destinations, usually loaded to well above the roof of the car.