Our time in Zanzibar was mostly spent relaxing by a beach, but – and call me weird if you like – one thing I was really looking forward to seeing was the Zanzibari doors of Stone Town.
The doors of Stone Town are intricate, interesting and beautifully carved, and while I have a penchant for pretty doors at the best of times, it turned out that Zanzibar doors are actually a thing. In fact, there are efforts to preserve as many of these historic doors as possible, and most walking tours include the doors as some of the main sights of the town.
I’m working on a post about our time in Zanzibar as a whole, which should be out this weekend, but I realised I have so many photos of these doors that I wanted to share them in a separate post.
Historically, the doors would give away a lot about the inhabitants of the building, from their religion to social status. These days, they can be anything from hotels to residences to souvenir shops to religious buildings – I think that first photo is the entrance to a mosque!
Here’s another one from a church – the detail on this is astonishing.
There are various styles of doors too, which incorporate all of Zanzibar’s many influences. As well as being a major trading route, inviting influence from all over the world, did you know Stone Town was once the capital of Oman? So even though Zanzibar is an African island which is now part of Tanzania, it’s actually had a lot of Middle Eastern history, as well as Indian influence, and all of these can be seen in the doors of Stone Town.
In fact, Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s largely because of the history contained in the architecture – most of which is comprised of these doors.
Someone came over while I was photographing them and told me that the reason for the massive brass knobs is because in India they’re used to stop elephants breaking through the door. An interesting style to be moved to somewhere that doesn’t have elephants! Unless they were hoping to bring them to the mainland where there are plenty of elephants. But they make for very, very impressive doors nonetheless.
Anyway, here are a whole load more doors for your satisfaction.
Two doors in one!
This isn’t the first place that I’ve been this year where I’ve been obsessed with the doors – Malta was full of amazing doors, and funnily enough they draw a lot of the same Arabic influences.
One thing I wished I’d photographed more was the up-close detailing of some of the doors. It was quite astonishing. This is taken from an existing photo of a full door, but still – even the door handle is ornate and carved!
Stay tuned for more on Zanzibar this weekend, as well as more from Stone Town itself, rounding off our honeymoon trip in style.
Read more about our African adventures:
⭐ An Introduction To Kenya – A Safari In The Maasai Mara
⭐ Living Out Our Wildest Dreams On Safari In Tanzania
⭐ 50 Photos From Our Dream African Safari Honeymoon