The slave market in Stone town is among the destinations to visit during a tour around Zanzibar island. Stone town is a UNESCO world heritage site in Zanzibar which used to be a place where one of the largest slave markets in the world were found. Currently the slave market is an Anglican cathedral. The Anglican cathedral is a representation of emancipation from the slavery that affected the people on the island.

Slave trade was among the popular trades in Stone town and this town was where slaves were brought from different parts of East Africa. From Stone town, slaves were transported in traditional dhows.

Over 50,000 slaves from different parts of East Africa were brought to the slave market and sold in Stone town every year around the 18th and 19th century. Slaves were brought to the island from West Africa.

The slaves who were brought to Zanzibar island were taken to the cloves and coconut plantation where they would work in the fields. During a tour of the old slave market, you can also visit the chambers where the slaves were held before being auctioned.

Slave market in Stone town
Slave market in Stone town

In Stone town, the slaves held included both women and children and also men. Women and children were kept in one chamber and men were kept in a separate chamber. A guided tour around the Chambers takes about 4 hours of learning the history of the people of Zanzibar.

During the slave auctioning process, slaves were whipped and the slaves who cried out were sold for less and the ones who did not cry when whipped by the slave masters were considered strong and they were sold for more.

Slave trade was also done in Pangani and in Zanzibar the trade boomed until it was abolished in the 19th century and it was led by Europeans, Indians, and Arabs who worked with some local leaders. Slave trade was later abolished in Zanzibar around 1873.

Dr Livingstone played a major role during the abolition of slave trade in Zanzibar.

After slave trade in Zanzibar

The slave market memorial in stone town is the same location where slaves were brought to be sold. The memorial was built in 1998 by Clara Sornas who used authentic chains to make the monument. The Stone memorial is found outside the Anglican site and it shows four people who are chained at the neck which shows how the slaves were presented to the people who bought slaves.

At the Anglican Church, the altar was built where the slaves were whipped and outside the cathedral there is an exhibition center which shows pictures and historical information about slavery in Zanzibar. A tour of the slave market when in Zanzibar costs about 5 USD.

When visiting the slave market, the tour can also involve going to the Livingstone house and the slave chambers and the Cathedral.

Other places to visit around Stone town include Darajani market where local foods and other items are sold. During a tour of the local market, you can also get to know how the local food is prepared and also experience the local living.

You can also explore Stone town by walking along the alleyways, seeing the Zanzibar doors and other buildings in Stone town which is known for its unique architecture influenced by Arab, Persian, Indian and British cultures.           Stone town can also be visited during cycling tours around the island.

Stone town is found at the heart of Zanzibar and it is known for being a historical town with diverse culture and a lot more to see during a tour. Other places to visit around Stone town include the house of wonders, the Old Fort, the Sultan’s palace, the Forodhani gardens, the Old dispensary among others.

The house of wonders in Stone town was constructed in 1883 by Barghash bin Said who was the second sultan of Zanzibar. At the house of wonders, a tour also involves getting to know more about the Swahili culture. During the construction of the house of wonders, the doors were built in a way that the sultan could enter when riding an elephant. It was also the first house to have an elevator and electricity in East Africa. The house of wonders was built in a way which portrayed mix of culture of Zanzibar, Britain, Portugal and Oman and this cultural mix was shown in the cast iron columns, door carvings, coral rags, open central courtyards, mangrove ceilings among other things. Tours to the house of wonders can be done and it is open to the public who can walk through the corridors and also visit the rooms.

Visiting the Palace museum is another experience to take part in when visiting Stone town and the palace museum highlights the Omani history of Zanzibar. This museum is also among the main historical buildings in Stone town. The palace museum was for Sayyid Seid from 1828. The palace museum also shows the history of Zanzibar, memorabilia of princess Salme such as her writings and clothes. The palace museum has a ground floor, second floor and third floor.

Slave market in Stone town
Slave market in Stone town

The Old dispensary is also known as the stone town cultural center and the building was constructed in 1887 and completed in 1894 by one of the richest men in Zanzibar. The building was used as a dispensary during the colonial times and is also among the buildings which were restored in Stone town.

Another destination to visit in Stone town is the Old Fort which is found close to the house of wonders. The Old fort was built around 1698 and 1701 by the Omani Arabs and it is a fort which the Arabs used to defend themselves against the Portuguese and other rivals.

You can also visit the Persian baths during a tour of Stone town and these baths were built by Sultan Said Bargash. The Persian baths were the first public baths in Zanzibar and when visiting the baths, you can get information about them which is displayed on plaques around the baths and chambers.

Visit Stone town and get to know more of the history of Zanzibar and its people as you explore different places.

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