The first stage not to miss in a Stone Town tour is its picturesque market, the Darajani Market, a riot of stalls and food carts mainly showing the richness and variety of island products.
Delves into the busy streets of this market continually six “raped” by colors, flavors and fragrances that overwhelm you: the perfectly exposed fruit on the shelves, on the corner of spices where to buy the powders of the gods (I’ll call it that) that abound the island such as vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, until the foul smells but definitely true of the fish market, where you can watch the fish auction, bought by the highest bidders in an everyday timeless ritual.
Taking one of the many winding streets that make up the thick of Stone Town architectural network, you enter a world where cultural boundaries, religious and social groups appear to have never existed: everything in perfect harmony, since the building styles and doors of Zanzibar, famous works of art that alone are worth the visit to the city. Engraved in wood by a master hand, in their carvings recognizes the native culture of each of the many peoples who for centuries have inhabited the island: the Arabs, the Portuguese, the Omanis.
In Stone Town there are more than 500 and were considered a symbol of wealth.
It is to be stunned before such mastery and I confess that I found myself often imagine life beyond those doors, traveling with the imagination to distant worlds, when Zanzibar was the destination of the flourishing trade between Asia and Europe and, unfortunately, the trafficking of slaves, but for which the island is little left.
Some of the most beautiful ports can be seen at Beit el-Ajab or “House of Wonders“, although unfortunately wonderful little remains: the National Museum of History and Culture of Zanzibar was the palace of the ceremonies, destroyed and rebuilt and inhabited until the early ‘900 by Hamoud Sultan, but retains very little of its old charm.
Although the interior is full of objects and artifacts that tell aspects of Swahili culture, not least of a traditional sailing vessel, the building is in a state of disrepair and is literally falling apart. Some areas on the upper floors are inaccessible because dangerous and watching the building from the outside you see its structural collapses in places. I find it really shameful that a cultural heritage as important as what is this place is left to decay in such a brutal manner. I really hope that the island’s government to do something so that the situation be remedied, and this wonder is restored to its former glory.
Continuing the walking tour you meet the Old Fort, an imposing fortified building, built
by the Omanis for difendesi against the Portuguese attacks, which now houses the Zanzibar Cultural Center. Not far away stands a church which is impossible to miss for its tall spiers visible already from the port: is the Anglican Church of St. Joseph’s. The presence within walking distance of churches and mosques symbolizes very well the multicultural spirit that characterizes the island and in the eyes of the beholder, especially in light of the difficult political and religious situation we are facing, shows unequivocally as cohabitation and tolerance are more than possible.
A tour of the tour that you can do in Stone Town is one of the places where he was born and lived Freddy Mercury in its first eight years of life.
Honestly I was interested in little, they are just passed in front of the Zanzibar Gallery where a commemorative plaque. A nice way to end a visit to Stone stown is to achieve Forodhani Gardens along the sea, public gardens animated by local vendors of street food, where you can taste the specialties of Zanzibar as the grilled octopus, chapati bread, l ‘ ugali and enjoy the presence of locals chatting and spend their time outdoors.
If I close my eyes I easily find myself in the streets of Stone Town, including children chattering as they exit from school, women wrapped in their colorful clothes smiling while offering you a kikoy, quiet squares crossed only by the sound of the wind, monumental gates that hide stories and legends of ancient times.
tattoos as indelible memories etched in my memories.