Old Fort, Stone Town, Zanzibar © Chen Hualin
The Old Fort was built at the turn of the 17th century on the remains of a Portuguese church and crumbling Arab garrison. It was constructed to protect the lucrative Spice Islands from invading Portuguese seafarers and Mazrui Arabs of Mombassa. The thick walls and castellated battlements later acted as a place of incarceration, detaining local criminals and slaves. In later, years the fort functioned as the depot for the Bububu Railway, Zanzibar's first railway, which once wound from Zanzibar Town to Bububu. 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.
Address: Mizingani Street, Stone Town