Wordtravels

Wordtravels

House of Wonders (Beit el-Ajaib)

House of Wonders, Zanzibar © Moongateclimber
House of Wonders, Zanzibar © Moongateclimber

The first building in Zanzibar to have electricity and the first building in East Africa to have an elevator, Beit el-Ajaib (which translates into the House of Wonders) was the former ceremonial palace of Sultan Barghash and was built in 1883 on the site of the 16th-century Queen Fatuma's residence. A striking white building, the House of Wonders has housed many influential tenants, used by the British as their local offices and as the headquarters of Tanzania's political party CCM.

While the building is now in disrepair and not open to the public, one can still admire the architecture. The multiple verandas, Arabic arches, heavy wooden door and embossed cannons are all a fascinating sight to see.

Address: Mizingani Road, Stone Town