Standing next to the most prominent building in Zanzibar is the House of Wonders. The architectural design is drastically different from the Old Fort, but it is thought to be the first building in East Africa with an elevator.

Zanzibar and built their own structures to assert their authority. The most prominent building is the Old Fort, a huge garrison constructed about 400 years ago by Arabic traders who controlled the city and wanted to protect it against European attackers. Next to the Old Fort is the House of Wonders, home of the former Omani sultan; it is believed to be the first building in East Africa con- structed with an elevator. The Malindi Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in all of East Africa, constructed in the fifteenth century from white stone. Nearby, an Indian trader built the Neoclassical Old Dispensary in the late 1800s to sell pharmaceuticals. European colonists contributed to the design of Stone Town with the construction of several cathedrals, both Roman Catholic and Anglican, in their efforts to Christianize the population (they failed; today, 99 percent of Zanzibar remains Muslim). Stone Town features many architectural relics of the medieval African slave trade, including museums, former holding facilities, and public memorials. Although the African slave trade is more commonly associated with transatlantic voyages, east coast ports like Zanzibar powered an Indian Ocean slave trade until it was outlawed in the mid-1800s.



Made with FlippingBook HTML5