Old Fort, Zanzibar - Stein Travel
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Old Fort

Built at the turn of the 17th century on the remains of a Portuguese church and crumbling Arab garrison, the burly Old Fort was constructed to fend off the enterprising Portuguese seafarers and Mazrui Arabs of Mombassa keen to gain power of the industrious 'Spice Island'. The Mazrui Arabs launched an attack in 1754 coming off unsuccessfully against the stoic Old Fort. The thick caramel walls and castellated battlements later acted as a place of incarceration, detaining locals and slaves. In later years the fort functioned as the depot for the Bububu railway, Zanzibar's first railway, travelling from Zanzibar Town to Bububu, which is no longer in existence. Nowadays the Old Fort houses shops and henna painting stores and the Cultural Centre where visitors can marvel at the fine artistry of local craftsmen at work. In the evening local music and dancing at the open-air theatre brightens up the night and occasional film screenings are shown.

Information & Facts

Address

Sukokuu Street, Stone Town

Admission

Free

Language

Swahili and English are the official languages. Several indigenous languages are also spoken.

Money

The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), divided into 100 cents. The tourism industry prices everything in US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on travellers cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only. Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10% surcharge.

Opening Times

Daily 9am-8pm

Time

GMT +3.

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