UNESCO World Heritage
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Stone Town

Have you been?

First visited by us on November 24, 2019
TL;DR: Zanzibar, Tanzania, is the location of the oldest surviving Swahili coastal trading towns in East Africa. It still has much of its historical layout and architecture more or less intact. The town has brought together very different elements of the cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe over more than a thousand years, and made it its own.

All about the

Stone Town

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Welcome to our collected information about the UNESCO World Heritage Site officially known as “Stone Town of Zanzibar”! If you travel here and ask about it, the site is in Swahili known as Mji Mkongwe. We call it Stone Town or just Stone Town.
[ stəʊn taʊn ]

Oldest Swahili trading town in Africa

Our UNESCO
World Heritage Site
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Where is Stone Town

So far we have made three fantastic trips to this beautiful and diverse continent. The adventures have been to some very different places. Our first was to the North West, to Morocco. The next was to the island country, Cape Verde. Our latest adventure was truly an adventure, we spent about two weeks in Tanzania.
Africa
Tanzania
Zanzibar

How small big large HUGE v-a-s-t is it

96
1 Hectare is 0.01 km² and 0.004 mi²

1.0

1 km² is 100 Hectare and 0.386 mi²

0.4

1 mi² is 259 Hectare and 2.589 km²

Why is Stone Town
a World Heritage Site

Stone Town and all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites are amazing per definition. The term UNESCO uses is that they are of “Outstanding Universal Value“. All the 1121 sites on the list have been carefully qualified and selected among the many suggested each year. In fact, the list of nominated sites is currently 1734 sites long. We, the humankind, have though the United Nations together decided that we really should make an extra effort in saving, protecting and taking care of these wonderful sites. This because of their value to us, both now and perhaps even more for future generations. When qualifying to be included into this exclusive list there are 10 different categories that you can qualify in. You can qualify in more than one, most sites do. Stone Town qualified in 3 of them. It was selected to be included because of:

World Heritage Type

Cultural

Natural

Mixed

Read

This

Stone Town is one of the oldest surviving Swahili coastal trading towns in East Africa. It still has much of its historical layout and architecture more or less intact. The town has brought together very different elements of the cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe over more than a thousand years, and made it its own.

UNESCO's  3 Why

Cultural Reason #2
Cultural Reason #3
Cultural Reason #4
Stone Town is a great example of the fusion of different cultures over time.
For hundreds of years, Stone Town was a centre of seaborne trade between Asia, Arabia, and Africa. This shows amazingly well in both the architecture and how the town is laid out.
Zanzibar had great symbolic importance in ending slavery. It used to be one of the main slave-trading ports in East Africa. It also became a base for the ones that wanted to end slavery, like David Livingstone.
Interchange of Human Values
Testimony to Cultural Tradition or Civilisation
Significant Stage in Human History

World Heritage Protection Status

Protected

Endangered

Lost

Timeline for the Stone Town World Heritage Site

1982-12-13

Tentative

Tanzania nominated Stone Town to become a World Heritage Site.

2000-12-02

Inscribed

The application from Tanzania was approved and Stone Town of Zanzibar officially became a World Heritage Site.

1999-12-04

Inscription Changed to "rev"

Things change. So did things for Stone Town of Zanzibar. Because of this there are some letters after the UNESCO Reference Number 173. After this update, Stone Town’s is rev.
2019-11-24

Visited by us!

Landmark event, obviously! Our first visit to the Stone Town of Zanzibar World Heritage Site. This was our 104 site visited out of the 128  we have travelled to so far.

Useful external links

Search for other Sites

Our Guides to Stone Town

Our Stone Town Photos

The Old Fort in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Another amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site visited in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Catholic Saint Joseph's Cathedral in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Old Dispensary in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Old Dispensary in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Anglican Cathedral is part of the Slave Market Museum in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The bell tower of Beit-El-Ajaib, the House of Wonders, in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Kids playing with a scooter in the narrow streets of Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Kids playing football on the beach in our last sunset in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Old cannons at the waterfront of Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
A pile of coral stone rubble in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Majestic Anglican Cathedral, also known as Christ Church in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
People walking the narrow streets in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The fishermen getting their boats ready by the waterfront of Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The beautiful Old Dispensary definitely stands out in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
An alley next to Saint Joseph's Cathedral with the Istiqama mosque minaret in the background in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Old Dispensary detail in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Old Dispensary was one of our favourite buildings in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Old slave market monument in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
A flying buttress of the Anglican Cathedral with the minaret of the Masjid Jibril mosque in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania