The Old Dispensary (now known as the Stone Town Cultural Centre) is a grand four-story building with a set of decorative balconies. The Old Dispensary (now known as the Stone Town Cultural Centre) laid in 1887, the building was only completed in 1894. Built by Tharia Thopen, one of Zanzibar’s richest men to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

It served as a dispensary during colonial times but fell into disrepair in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It is one of the Stone Town buildings that have been successfully restored, in this case with funding from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. It can be found on Zanzibar’s seafront on Mizingani road.


The Arab Fort (Old Fort) is situated next to the House of Wonders and was built between 1698 and 1701 by the Busaidi group of Omani Arabs. It is a large building with high, dark brown walls topped by castellated battlements.

The Arabs used the fort to defend themselves against the Portuguese and against a rival Omani group. In recent years it has been partially renovated to house the Zanzibar Cultural Centre. In an inner courtyard lies a stone-built amphitheatre that hosts performances of local music and dance, such as Taarab, Zanzibar’s most popular form of music. There is a small tourist information office and a gift shop.


The Anglican cathedral Christ Church (or Church of Christ) is a landmark historical church in Stone Town, Zanzibar as well as one of the most prominent examples of early Christian architecture in East Africa. It was built in ten years, starting from 1873, based on a vision of Edward Steere, third Anglican bishop of Zanzibar, who actively contributed to the design. As most buildings in Stone Town, it is made mostly of coral stone. It has a unique concrete roof shaped in an unusual barrel vault (that was Steere’s idea) and the overall structure mixes perpendicular gothic and Islamic details.

The cathedral was consecrated in 1903 and named after the Canterbury Cathedral. The church is in Mkunazini Road, in the centre of the old town, and occupies a large area where the biggest slave market of Zanzibar used to be; the construction of the cathedral was in fact intended to celebrate the end of slavery. The altar is said to be in the exact place where the main “whipping post” of the market used to be. In the square there is a well-known monument to the slaves (a few human figures in chains emerging from a pit) as well as a museum on slavery. Edward Steere died of a heart attack when the cathedral was almost completed and was buried behind the altar. Inside the church there is a cross that was made from the wood of the tree that grows on the place where David Livingstone’s heart was buried, in Chitambo.


Built by sultan Said Barghash in the late 19th century, the Hamamni Persian Baths were the first public baths in Zanzibar. Although they are no longer functioning, they are maintained in near-perfect condition. There is a nominal entrance fee, which goes towards the upkeep of the building. Explanatory plaques are situated at salient points around the baths and chambers.


The Fruit, Spice and Food Market, built in 1904, is about halfway along Creek Road (now renamed Benjamin Mkapa) is a good place for shopping and sightseeing. It is an attractive place full of fresh farm produced, but the most evocative products are the scented spices and seafood.

People from various part of Zanzibar bring their produce, while petty traders have outside stalls surrounding the big market hall, where they sell industrial products ranging from sewing machines to second-hand clothes and motor vehicle spear parts.


Forodhani is a popular waterfront on the heart of Zanzibar town. Every evening, it is filled with people wishing to cool down from the heat of the day by tasting a collection of delicacies and grilled foods and finishing up with cool cold drinks.

There are dishes brought by Arabs (Omanis, Yemenis and Persians), Indian, Europeans and even Chinese. But most popular dishes are Pilau, Biryan, Chicken chips, Zanzibar mix (Urojo) and Zanzibar Pizza. To witness the beauty of sunset in Zanzibar the best place to be is at Stone Town. You can sit at the Forodhani Park for amazing view of the sea as well as a nice breeze to cool you down. Forodhani is a no miss for everyone.


Though pristine beaches are what most tourists think about when they think about Zanzibar, spending some time walking around the Darajani market is a fantastic way to learn about the culture of Zanzibar and to observed local lifestyle. If you visit Stone Town, spend an hour navigating Darajani Market for an awesome experience.

The shopping strip is a fun walk, however, the things available in the bazaar are mostly imported from China and India.