The Zanzibar Islands is still called the “Spice Islands” by most travelers today. Presently, it is part of the East African republic of Tanzania facing the Indian Ocean. It consists of numerous small, uninhabited islands, and two large islands named Unguja and Pembar. The Zanzibar Islands attract tourists from all over the globe because of its rich cultural and historical background.
Its capital, the Zanzibar City, sits at one of the larger islands named Unguja. Recently, the Stone Town, which is in the capital, received global recognition and was pegged as a World heritage Site.
So, does it still have spice?
As a matter of fact one of the leading industries in Zanzibar or Spice Islands is spice exports. It’s still one of the leading producers of cloves, nutmeg, pepper, and cinnamon. Aside from tourism, Zanzibar Island also reaps significant income from Raffia Palm plantations. Acres and acres of land in the Zanzibar Islands are used to grow these native palms. Parts of these palms are used for textile and construction—other areas that fuel the growth of the Spice Islands.
What does Zanzibar mean?
“Zanzibar” came from the Persian word “Zangibar” which literally translates to “Coast of the Blacks”. The Islands enjoyed trade in the past with Arabs and Persians, among other peoples, and because they’re an African country, they were identified by their skin color.
Eye candy, anyone?
Anyone visiting Zanzibar Islands will notice the rich edifices that blend with the palm trees. Aside from miles and miles of coastlines, which is already expected of any archipelago, Zanzibar Islands also boast of circular towers, beautiful mosques, and raised terraces. You spot Arab and Persian influences in the building’s structures as you walk the streets of the capital. You should visit the Livingstone house, the Guliani Bridge, and the famous House of Wonders. If you’re interested in Persian baths or “hammam”, you will also find a lot of these in the town of Kidichi.
The people of Zanzibar Islands are a largely Sunni Muslim community. This is another sign of the strong Arab and Persian influences that remained in the islands. Travelers need not worry about too many restrictions in food and clothing, however. The Zanzibar Islands are one of the finest tourist destinations in the world because of its beaches and cultural heritage. It’s a comparatively liberal country compared to other Islam nations worldwide.