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More than anything else, Stone Town is what makes Zanzibar different from other beach destinations. Behind its elegant waterfront, it is a place of narrow winding alleys, jostling bazaars, mosques and a distinctive Swahili Arab Architecture, evidenced in the brass-studded, carved wooden doors see throughout the island. Most of the houses in Stone Town were built in the 19th century when Zanzibar island was one of the most important trading centres in the Indian Ocean region. The tradition was Swahili, those commissioning the houses were usually Omani, British architects were often used as were Indian carpenters.

This mixture of cultures is evident in the exotic nature of the houses. Unfortunately due to lack of preservation, many of the places are in ruin. Countless places have also been destroyed due to neglect and lack of funds to maintain them. Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO A night or two in Stone Town will complete your trip to Zanzibar, and might be a necessity, depending on your flight schedules. If you are into cultural activities, you might want to spend more than a night in Stone Town, as this is where it all happens.