A unique echo of the past, with holidays to Stone Town uncover a rich architectural legacy and a long cultural heritage. Once a major trading hub, with slavery and spices the main export, such days may be long since over but their presence on the face of Stone Town is strongly felt and forms a unique backdrop against which to explore.
The 19th century added greatly to Stone Town's architectural stockpile and as a result it's littered with colourful nuances of style and influence. The Portuguese left their imprint during the slave trade, with a huge fort set on the beach front, while Omani and Indian undertones are also present. However, it is perhaps Stone Town's Swahili flair for which it is best known, with fine examples assimilated into the palaces and mansions of the day. Many hotels in the area are also infused with this distinctive panache, which certainly adds some authenticity to a stay - Emerson Spice is a worthy example. Thanks to Stone Town's standing as a historic treasure trove it has earned the honour of UNESCO World Heritage Status.
There is plenty to do while staying in the old town, with Spice Tours top of the list. Assisted by a local guide embark on an organised tour, visiting spice plantations and enjoying a Swahili lunch afterwards. You can also catch a boat to islands off the coast and explore the narrow streets and alleyways on walking tours, taking in Forodhani Gardens, the Palace Museum, the House of Wonders and the Old Arab Fort.
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