Appreciating the Decorative Doors of Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania
The city of Stonetown, Zanzibar is a walled city of significant East African significance as a result of it’s involvement in the 19th Century Slave Trade throughout the region. It’s architecture offers a mix of Swahili, Arab, Indian and Persian elements. For this reason, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000. Our day would allow us to spend some time walking through the city to understand it’s historic elements.
This post is one chapter on our trip to the Republic of Tanzania and the Islands of the Seychelles. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and enhanced through World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Zanzibar, Tanzania and Islands of the Seychelles via Air Canada and Turkish Airlines Business Class
- Air Canada Signature Business Class: Vancouver – Toronto
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Toronto International Terminal
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Toronto – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Dar Es Salaam
- The Hyatt Regency – The Kilimanjaro, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
- Precision Air: Dar Es Salaam – Zanzibar
- The Residence Zanzibar by Cenizaro, Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Crossing the Island of Zanzibar, Tanzania
- The Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Tanzania
- The Decorative Doors of Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Among the Horrors at the Slave Trade Market, Stonetown, Zanzibar
- Emerson Spice Tea House Restaurant, Stonetown, Zanzibar
- Cruising into Sunset on a Dhow Cruise, Zanzibar
- Precision Air: Zanzibar – Dar Es Salaam
- Kenya Airways: Dar Es Salaam – Nairobi
- Kenya Airways: Nairobi – Mahé, Seychelles
- Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove, Mahé, Seychelles
- The Beaches of Beau Vallon, Mahé, Seychelles
- Cat Cocos Ferry: Mahé – Praslin
- The Chateau des Feuilles, Praslin, Seychelles
- Tortoises at Anse Lazio and Vallée de Mai, Praslin Island, Seychelles
- The Beaches of Praslin Island, Seychelles
- Air Seychelles: Praslin – Mahé
- Salon Vallée de Mai Business Lounge, Mahé, Seychelles
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Mahé – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Arrivals Lounge, Istanbul Atatürk
- Turkish Airlines E Tour, Istanbul, Turkey
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Toronto
- Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport, Canada
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Toronto Domestic
- Air Canada Signature Business Class: Toronto – Vancouver
Activity: Appreciating the Decorative Doors of Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania
For the afternoon, we decided to talk a walking tour around and about. Stonetown, Zanzibar is a bit of a tough place to self guide as a tourist. There are lots of interesting features that aren’t easily marked. We ended up booking a 3 hour walking tour through The Park Hyatt Zanzibar hotel for about $60 USD. We ended up getting a lot of value out of the walking tour and I’d recommend it for anyone coming through Stonetown.
Walking the Alleys of Stonetown, Zanzibar:
We started our tour right next door at the Zanzibar Serena Hotel. We had an overview of the hotel which was previously an omani master’s house.
We passed through the back alleys, including a Tangazo joibi tree for cosmetics and face creams.
The Dhow Palace Hotel:
We wandered through to The Dhow Palace Hotel. The Dhow Palace Hotel was known as one of the first hotels in Zanzibar. It had a very nice pool and atrium. It also had one of our very first orate doors we had the pleasure of looking at that Zanzibar is well known for.
The Doorways of St George’s Cathedral, Stonetown:
We then headed over through various alley ways and intricate door ways to St George’s Cathedral, the only catholic church in Stonetown. It wasn’t open for viewing on our visit today. It was reported to be open for catholic mass on Sunday’s but never was on the Sunday during our visit. As a result, there are no inside photographs of this particular aged beauty.
Understanding the Local’s at Jaws’ Corner:
We then headed over to Jaws’ Corner and had a detailed explanation of it’s local significance. Jaw’s Corner is a five-way corner that was the cross roads of this particular neighbourhood.
It was used as a meeting place and had a blackboard (pictured) for communicating the town news. Local residence would announce births, marriages and other important news. For some reason, it even offered free international phone calls (also pictured). It also appeared to be a general hang out place.
Just adjacent to Jaws’ Corner, we past the most intricate doors of our Stonetown visit. These ones had birds and cats in them.
We had an explanation of overall tolerance of Zanzibar society with mosque and Anglican cathedral built right next to each other.
Heading to the Local Market:
We headed onwards to a local supermarket stop with an explanation of the products for sale. Bridal parties were described as typically coming to get the houseware gifts after the marriage. The X are a coconut cutter that you sit on and core your coconuts.
My Thoughts on a Walking Tour through Stonetown:
Stonetown is an intricate place to visit that’s surrounded by local merchants, alleyways and a variety of sights and sounds. Since it is a local’s city, there is a definite advantage to getting a local guide that is able to explain the meaning of things since most of the city is unmarked . Our guide from the The Park Hyatt Zanzibar was able to explain the attractions and allow us to make the most of our time in this interesting town.