Stone Town Travel Guide

Browse 5 travel reviews, 6 travel blogs and 395 travel photos from real travelers to Stone Town.

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Stone Town Overview

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 the period of the British protectorate. When Tanganyika and Zanzibar joined each other to form the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar kept a semi-autonomous status, with Stone Town as its local government seat.

Stone Town is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture, with a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. For this reason, the town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

Due to its heritage, Stone Town is also a major visitor attraction in Tanzania, and a large part of its economy depends on tourism-related activities.

Stone Town is located roughly in the middle of the west coast of Unguja, on a small promontory protruding into the Zanzibar Channel. The closest major settlement on the Tanzanian coast, opposite to Stone Town, is Bagamoyo (to the south-west). Stone Town is part of Zanzibar City, that also comprises the "New City" of Ng'ambo ("the Other Side"), which mostly extends in the interior of Unguja to the south-east. The ideal dividing line between Stone Town and Ng'ambo is Creek Road.

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