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CULTURE
 
The term “cultural melting pot” might well have been coined for Zanzibar. This spice island in the middle of the Indian OCean has been shaped over the centuries by traders from East Africa and India, the Middle East and Europe. Every community who has lived or traded here has left some kind of mark on the architecture, the languages, the cuisine, and every other aspect of daily life.
To visit Zanzibar is to be immersed in its smorgasbord of cultures, and perhaps to leave your own mark, too. It’s hard to pinpoint all the different cultural influences here, because they have become intimately entwined with one another over time. You will see fortress buildings which strongly resemble those in Oman, hear words of Portuguese being spoken, and smell Indian spices cooking. The rhythm of the music on the street might as easily come from Iran as from Tanzania, such is the cultural diversity of this place.
UNESCO listed Stone Town - a World Heritage Site since 2000 - is the cultural heart of Zanzibar, and a fascinating place to explore, either with a local guide or wandering through the labyrinthine streets alone. Along the waterfront you can see St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Sultan’s Palace, and the House of Wonders (which houses the Museum of History), as well as the Forodhani Gardens. The Old Dispensary - famed for its beautiful stained glass - has been sensitively restored, and the Palace Museum exhibits the possessions of the Zanzibari Royal Family. The Slavery Memorial is a poignant reminder of a darker side of the island’s history, and the reasons why so many different people came to be here.
Aspects of culture pervade the island, so no matter where you are in Zanzibar there will always be something new to experience and learn. Foodies should pay a visit to one of Zanzibar’s spice
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