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1:09pm on Saturday, 11th August, 2007:

Places I'd Like to Visit #7


Continuing the occasional series...

Zanzibar, in particular Stone Town.

Zanzibar is one of those places that has a fantastic name, so that even if it were a painful concrete brutalist car park, you'd still want to go to it. Stone Town doesn't have such a great name, but it's the old part of the capital, Zanzibar City. Because of its position off the coast of Africa, Zanzibar has a very colourful history, with influences from African, Arab, Iranian, Indian, Portuguese and British cultures. It's a warren of narrow streets and startling architecture and colourful character, and that's why I want to go there.

Oh, and the name, of course.

For some, the name Zanzibar was not exotic: it was for a long time the centre of a vibrant slave trade, which didn't end until the British put a stop to it in 1897. Yes, that's just 110 years ago — incredible, when you think about it. There are probably people alive today whose parents were slaves.

Zanzibar is now part of Tanzania (TANganyika + ZANzibar), but I'm not interested in visiting the rest of the country: it doesn't compact so much into such a small space, so the interactions aren't as exciting.

Thinking about it, though, I wouldn't mind seeing a crater they have there...

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).