located on the biggest island in the Zanzibar Archipelago, is old. Very old as in evidence of human habitation going back 20,000 years, give or take. So it wasn’t young when the Arabs arrived, nor when the Portuguese identified it as a great shipping point. But what did change with the arrival of all those from Europe and the Mid-East was the name and the construction of the buildings.
Did I forget to mention those from Asia? Sorry about that.
Rather than temporary homes, limestone became the main building material. Zangi (black people) became Zanzibar and the area became known as the Spice Islands. Think pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon. Today it is the home of tourism, some spice, a World Heritage Site and a lot of people. Not so much on the spice although there is plenty for sale, both raw and spice mixes, in the markets.
This morning we walked through the narrow twisted streets of Stone Town where pedestrians, bikes, scooters and hand pushed heavy wooden wheeled carts are the only possible forms of transportation. Looking at old buildings, interesting doorways, and stores tucked behind wooden barred facades,
the calls to prayer were an ongoing reminder that the population is 95% Muslim. That and the women’s dress made it pretty obvious.
The Old Slave Market over which was built an Episcopal Church (which became a guest house after a new church was built.
the fish market,
all indicative of that which was was easily bought and sold.
This afternoon’s adventure was headed up by Bonita, the hotel manager on a rare afternoon off. Visiting fabric sources, stores in front of stores on the narrow streets and opportunity to add to my spice collection made for a lovely afternoon. We ended at Livingston’s on the beach where we relaxed, unfortunately a month too early for the Jazz Festival.