Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Old Dispensary (Aga Khan Cultural Centre)

Old Dispensary, Zanzibar © Moongateclimber
Old Dispensary, Zanzibar © Moongateclimber

An architectural symbol of the mixed bag of cultures evident in Zanzibar's history, the elaborate Old Dispensary was so named because it long housed a dispensary on the ground floor, with a pharmacy and resident doctor. An affluent Ismaili Indian merchant, Tharia Topan, who financed the building project, laid the first brick 1887 and completed building in 1894. One of the most decorative buildings of the time, the Old Dispensary is adorned with ornate carved balconies, stuccowork and stained glass windows. Restored in the early 1990s, the Dispensary now houses a small museum on the upper level which displays old photographs of Stone Town's waterfront and documents the intricate restoration process. There are also some curio shops on the ground floor.

The Old Dispensary is a beautiful building and worth passing by and photographing at the very least.

Address: Mizingani Road, Stone Town