Zanzibar Stone Town

  • Shinuna Karume-Robert
Living reference work entry

Zanzibar, part of Tanzania, is an archipelago of two main islands, Unguja and Pemba off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The Stone Town, the old town and historical capital, has an estimated population of 30,000 people. The tropical climate, fertile soils, plentiful waters, and ready supply of building materials offered all that was required for early urban development (Siravo & Bianca, 1996). Zanzibar, strategically located merely 40km from mainland Africa coupled with regular monsoon winds, presented ideal circumstances for seaborne trading and commerce activities between merchants from Asia, primarily India and the Arab peninsula, and Africa. These circumstances also presented a perfect opportunity for a cosmopolitan and culturally diverse town to flourish.

The well-preserved stone buildings and the thriving dynamic Swahili culture have rendered Zanzibar Stone Town as one of the best manifestations of trade and maritime history on the East African Coast. Zanzibar Town is...


Indian Ocean Slave Trade East African Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site Islamic Architecture 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.London School of EconomicsYaoundéUK