Zanzibar Travel Guide
Zanzibar, the largest island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, otherwise known as the 'spice islands', is one of those completely unique global destinations totally, incomparable to anywhere else in the world. The rich history of the island has played a major part in this uniqueness with its fascinating maze of narrow streets and alleyways in Zanzibar 's old quarter, known as the Stone Town . The winding lanes lead the visitor around elaborate old whitewashed coral rag houses with brass-studded doors and elaborately carved frames, mostly dating from the 15th-century slave boom. The size and intricacy of a door's design was an indication of an owner's wealth and status and there are some amazing examples of one-up-manship. There are also beautiful mosques, ornate palaces, shops and bazaars. One of the most prominent buildings is the Bel-el-Ajub (House of wanders), formally the Sultans palace. There is also the 'Arab' Fort, the old slave market and the UMCA cathedral. Another major tourist attraction of this aromatic island is the Forodhani Gardens laid out in 1936 to mark the silver Jubilee of Sultan Khalifa. Surrounded by a veritable clutch of beautiful historical buildings, this idyllic patch of greenery lying between Mizingani road and the main sea wall is a popular and atmospheric eating and meeting point in the evening.
Of course, the beaches of Zanzibar rank as some of the most beautiful in the world and the seemingly endless white sandy stretches interspersed with picturesque fishing villages, constitute the archetypal island paradise. There are more than 25 fantastic beaches in Zanzibar, all incredibly peaceful, with only the sound of the clear turquoise Indian Ocean lapping against the shore to break the silence. No matter how captivated by the beaches you are however, no one should visit Zanzibar without indulging in a 'Spice Tour' .Check out the amazing tastes and aromas of the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and innumerable other spices brought to the island by the Sultans of Oman at the start of the notorious slave trade. Visitors can taste the goods before they buy at plantations just outside Zanzibar Town where the deliciously pungent spices and spice oils can be bought very cheaply. Visitors will have their senses dazzled and their minds blown with the sheer variety of spices and their uses in cooking, cosmetics and medicine. It may start with the last letter of the alphabet but it is the first place you should ever think of going.
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