Diplomatist Special Report - Tanzania Tanzania 2018 - Page 51

Zanzibar A taste of Africa’s Spice Islands Z anzibar is composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres off the coast of the mainland, and consists of many small islands and two large ones: Unguja and Pemba. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic centre is Stone Town, which is a World Heritage Site. Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffi a, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. For this reason, the islands, together with Tanzania’s Mafi a Island, are sometimes called the ‘Spice Islands’. Zanzibar is the home of the endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey, the Zanzibar Servaline Genet, and the illusive Zanzibar Leopard. Stone Town Located on a promontory jutting out from the western side of Unguja Island into the Indian Ocean, Stone Town of Zanzibar is an outstanding example of a Swahili trading town. This type of town developed on the coast of East Africa, further expanded under Arab, Indian, and European infl uences, but retained its indigenous elements, to form an urban cultural unit unique to this region. Stone Town retains its urban fabric and the townscape remains virtually intact and contains many fi ne buildings that refl ect its particular culture, which has brought together and homogenised disparate elements of the cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe over more than a millennium. The buildings of Stone Town, executed principally in coralline ragstone and mangrove timber, set in a thick lime mortar and then plastered and lime-washed, refl ect a complex fusion of Swahili, Indian, Arab and European infl uences in building traditions and town planning. The two storey houses with long narrow rooms disposed around an open courtyard reached through a narrow corridor are distinguished externally by elaborately carved double ‘Zanzibar’ doors, and some by wide verandas, and by richly decorated interiors. TANZANIA• 51