Walking down the narrow alleys of Stone Town, Karibu! (Welcome in Swahili) is a word you hear frequently, as shopkeepers invite you to visit their stores displaying an array of souvenirs. In fact, it’s a greeting you are welcomed with anywhere, be it shops, restaurants or the local market.
The heart of Stone Town mostly consists of a maze of narrow alleys lined by houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. In the 19th and 20th century these houses were constructed using coral stone taken from the sea, hence the name Stone Town. For this reason, the town has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Many of the buildings are crumbling down, which isn’t surprising considering their age and the weathering effects of the coastal climate. Zanzibar was once ruled by Oman and remnants of the Arab influence can be seen in the architecture.
Over the last couple of years many of these buildings have been restored and renovated by hotels to promote tourism on the island.