Facts about Zanzibar

We found 24 facts about Zanzibar

A paradise island in the Indian Ocean

Zanzibar is the largest island of the archipelago of the same name located in the Indian Ocean. It is a destination for many tourists looking for both relaxation and active leisure time. The secret of this place is the tropical climate, captivating nature, and fascinating culture that can be seen in every corner of the island. This place has a unique color, consisting of spice-scented markets, heavenly beaches, and turquoise ocean water.

Zanzibar also known as Unguja is an island with an area of 1658 square kilometers.

It is located in the Indian Ocean and is part of the Zanzibar Archipelago. The archipelago consists of two larger islands, Zanzibar and Pemba, and several smaller ones. The largest of them is Zanzibar.

It belongs entirely to Tanzania and is part of its autonomous part, Zanzibar.

Tanzania (United Republic of Tanzania) is a country in eastern Africa created from the merger of former British colonies: Tanganyika (German until World War I) and British Zanzibar. The name was created by combining the first syllables in the names of both countries. The island of Pemba also became part of the federal republic. The capital of Tanzania is Dodoma.

Zanzibar's history began 2000 years ago.

The first inhabitants were Africans from the continent. They traded with India, Arabia, and Persia, whose peoples partially settled the island and enriched its Swahili culture.

For many centuries, a merchant trade route passed through Zanzibar.

In the 16th century, it became a colony of Portugal, and in the 19th century, many Arabs from Oman settled on the island and created a landed elite there. Indians also appeared there, and the English set off from there into Africa.

After numerous regional conflicts, Zanzibar united with Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania. It took place on April 26, 1964.

The population there is dominated by the Hadimu, Tumbatu, and Pembu peoples, as well as descendants of Asians and newcomers from the island of Goa.

The capital of the island is a city also called Zanzibar, located on the Zanzibar Channel.

The capital is the country's third largest city with a population of approximately 450.000 inhabitants.

The historical center of the capital is the Stone City - the old part of Zanzibar on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The city's architecture is a mixture of Arab, Indian, European, and African cultures. Characteristic are the narrow streets that do not accommodate cars. Transport takes place on foot, on bicycles, or on motorcycles. The walking trail leads through the Palace Museum, which was once the residence of the Sultan of Zanzibar. You can find the tombs of all the island's previous rulers there. Noteworthy are the House of Wonders with a built-in clock tower and an old Arab fort built in the 17th century. Also interesting is the so-called Zanzibar's milestone, a marble pillar with distances to the most important places on the island.

In the past, the Stone City was the center of the East African slave trade between Africa and Asia.
In Stone City, in the city hospital, on September 5, 1946, Farrokh Bulsara, known as Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the British group Queen, was born.
The capital is home to the Hammani Baths, the largest Persian baths of this type in Zanzibar.

They were built especially on the orders of Sultan Barghash.

Zanzibar is a place where you can admire Tingatinga paintings, typical of this region.

Tingatinga is a painting style from the 1960s. Its name comes from the name of Edward Saidi Tingatinga, a self-taught artist who started his career in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The first European to visit Zanzibar was the famous traveler Marco Polo.
On the northern tip of the island is the fishing village of Nungwi, which is considered a traditional center for building dhows.

These are traditional Arab sailing ships, with one or more sails. Until the 1960s, dhows operated commercial voyages between the Persian Gulf and the east coast of Africa, using only sails to move the boats. The cargo was containing mainly dates and fish taken to Africa, with mangrove wood taken on the way back.

There are numerous clove and coconut plantations on the island, which constitute the basis for exports.

Clove trees appeared in Zanzibar in 1812 thanks to Saleh ibn Haramil from Muscat, who brought them here from the island of Reunion. However, it was only in the first half of the 19th century, during the rule of the Sultan of Oman, Said ibn Sultan, that Zanzibar became the world's leading producer of spices (nutmeg, saffron, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.), among which the most important was cloves. Zanzibar became a clove power, basing its production on the labor of slaves. It is said that in those days, cloves were more valuable than gold. Currently, Zanzibar ranks third in the global clove production market.

In addition to spices, Zanzibar also exports seaweed and raffia (a bamboo palm with long pinnately divided leaves, the largest plants in the world with fiber-producing leaves).

Fishing and tourism are also well-developed.

Zanzibar is also listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the site of the shortest international armed conflict in history.

It was an English-Zanzibar conflict that broke out on August 27, 1896, and lasted 45 minutes. About 600 people died during this war.

The most famous and sensual dance in Zanzibar is the Dumbak.

It is a traditional belly and hip dance with scarves, stimulating women's internal energy. Girls learn it from an early age.

Zanzibar was the first country in Africa to introduce color television. It was in 1973.

However, the first street lighting was installed only in 1998.

A very popular beauty treatment in Zanzibar is a relaxation massage, offered by many women.

The massage is performed with the following oils: coconut, ylang ylang, and kraft (cloves in Swahili).

On the island, the day starts every day at 6 a.m. (sunrise). It is delayed by 6 hours compared to the official time.

In Zanzibar, it is customary to use some form of local, unofficial solar time.

There is a turtle reserve in Nungwi, which was established by residents. It is a tourist attraction.

Injured marine animals come to the reserve and after recovery, they are released into the ocean.

An endemic species of Red Colobus monkeys live in Zanzibar.

They can be found in Jozani National Park.

Giant tortoises live on one of the islands in the Zanzibar Archipelago, on Prison Island.

They were donated to Zanzibar at the beginning of the 20th century by the government of Seychelles, four in quantity. Today there are many more of them, and the oldest specimen is over 190 years old.

A very common saying that you can hear from local people in Zanzibar is "Hakuna matata".

And also jambo, which means "hello", and pole pole, which means slowly in Swahili, because why rush when on vacation?

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