Stone Town

Stone Town also known as Mji Mkongwe (swahili for "old town") is the old part of Zanzibar City, the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania, as opposed to Ng'ambo (Swahili for 'the other side'). It is located on the western coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago. Former capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate, and flourishing centre of the spice trade as well as the slave trade in the 19th century, it retained its importance as the main city of Zanzibar during colonial rule.

Stone Town's architecture has a number of distinctive features, as a result of Arab, Persian, Indian, European, and African traditions mixing together. The name "Stone Town" comes from the ubiquitous use of coral stone as the main construction material; this stone gives the town a characteristic, reddish warm colour.[4][5] Traditional buildings have a baraza, a long stone bench along the outside walls; this is used as an elevated sidewalk if heavy rains make the streets impracticable, or otherwise as benches to sit down, rest, socialize.[6] Another key feature of most buildings is large verandas protected by carved wooden balustrades. The most well-known feature of Zanzibari houses are the finely decorated wooden doors, with rich carvings and bas-reliefs, sometimes with big brass studs of Indian tradition.[5] Two main types of doors can be distinguished: those of Indian style have rounded tops, while those of Arab (Omani) style are rectangular. Carvings are often Islamic in content (for example, many consist of verses of the Qur'an), but other symbologies are occasionally used, e.g., Indian lotus flowers as emblems of prosperity.[4]
Besides having interesting architectural features in most of its houses, Stone Town is punctuated with major historical buildings, several of which are found on the seafront; this include former sultan palaces, fortifications, churches, mosques, and other institutional buildings.
While Stone Town has been included in UNESCO's World Heritage Sites

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