The Programme

"Working in Partnership"

The Zanzibar Stone Town Regeneration programme is a working partnership between the  Zanzibar Government and Zamani Development Network in accordance to UNESCO and World Heritage Guidelines 

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Zanzibar

 

People have lived in Zanzibar dating back as far as 20,000 years. History really begins when the islands became a base for traders voyaging between the African Great Lakes, the Arabian peninsula, and the Indian subcontinentOmanis and Yemenis and Indian traders settled in what became Zanzibar City (Stone Town) as a convenient point from which to trade with towns on the Swahili Coast. Portuguese and Oman established garrisons on the islands and built the first mosques in the African Great Lakes.

 

During the Age of Exploration, the Portuguese Empire was the first European power to gain control of Zanzibar, and kept it for nearly 200 years. In 1698, Zanzibar fell under the control of the Sultanate of Oman, which developed an economy of trade and cash crops, along with a Bantu general population. Plantations were developed to grow spices; hence, the moniker of the Spice Islands.

 

Control of Zanzibar came under the influence of the British Empire and in 1890, Zanzibar became a British protectorate

The islands gained independence in December 1963 as a constitutional monarchy.

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Stone Town 

Stone Town is located on the western coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago it is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture, giving a unique mixture of OmaniPersianIndian, Portuguese and British elements. For this reason, the town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

Due to its heritage, Stone Town is also a major visitor attraction in Tanzania, and a large part of its economy depends on tourism-related activities.

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Due to Stone Town and indeed Zanzibar's rich history as a trading point opening the routes between the East and West it is an area of particular world historical and cultural importance. A place which shows the merging of many different and diverse cultures which over the centuries have been adapted and uniquely enhanced by the Zanzibari people. You can see many different influences within Zanzibar, be this through the architecture, the styles and tastes of the food, the clothing, the music, the dance and expression of the Zanzibari's themselves. Truly this is a magical place, an important place, a place which deserves to be preserved and protected for future generations to enjoy.

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Zanzibar Government

& STCDA

 Stone Town has been protected as a conservation area since 1985, under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1955.  Finally, values, boundaries and features have been further protected by the Stone Town Conservation and Development Act of 1994 and the associated Master Plan which specifies actions and strategies to be taken to safeguard, conserve and develop the values of the Stone Town. Together with these legal frameworks, the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA) which was created in 1985 has a full mandate to coordinate and supervise the Master Plan of 1994. Many buildings of the Stone Town are also protected by other institutions such as the Department of Housing and Human Settlement and the Commission of Waqf. A Management Plan for the property was prepared by the STCDA in consultation with all stakeholders, in 2007, with the stated vision to: “protect and enhance the Stone Town cultural heritage leading to it being well preserved as a sustainable human settlement supportive of its cultural diversity and maintaining its Outstanding Universal Values”​  

UNESCO

Cultural property in the Zanzibar archipelago is protected under the “Ancient Monuments Act” of 1948. This legal framework protects individual monuments and sites Gazetted in the Official Gazette. Responsibility for the monitoring and management of these monuments falls within the jurisdiction of the Department of Museums and Antiquity. The Town and Country Planning act of 1955 also provides a clause to protect historically important houses. The Stone Town has been protected as a conservation area since 1985, under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1955.  Finally, values, boundaries and features have been further protected by the Stone Town Conservation and Development Act of 1994 and the associated Master Plan which specifies actions and strategies to be taken to safeguard, conserve and develop the values of the Stone Town. Together with these legal frameworks, the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA) which was created in 1985 has a full mandate to coordinate and supervise the Master Plan of 1994. Many buildings of the Stone Town are also protected by other institutions such as the Department of Housing and Human Settlement and the Commission of Waqf. A Management Plan for the property was prepared by the STCDA in consultation with all stakeholders, in 2007, with the stated vision to: “protect and enhance the Stone Town cultural heritage leading to it being well preserved as a sustainable human settlement supportive of its cultural diversity and maintaining its Outstanding Universal Values”.

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WMF

Iconic fixtures of Stone Town's world-renowned seafront area, the House of Wonders and Palace Museum convey the cultural and architectural influences of Zanzibar, Britain, Portugal, and Oman over the centuries. The House of Wonders was once the most modern building in East Africa—it was the first building to have electricity and an elevator—and it mixes elements of European style and Zanzibari tradition by including cast iron columns, elaborate door carvings, coral rag, open central courtyards, and mangrove ceilings that together form a truly unique architectural achievement. Just next to it is the Palace Museum, built by the second sultan of Zanzibar in 1883, which is an opulent palace comprised of beautiful marble flooring, coral stone walls, and silver decorations. The palace was built in the Omani style as an extravagant Arab mansion, and holds many relics that offer a rare glimpse of a past era. The House of Wonders and Palace Museum have been converted into popular cultural destinations; the House of Wonders presents exhibitions dedicated to Swahili culture and the Palace Museum highlights its ties to Zanzibar's Omani history.

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