Zanzibar National Museum of History & Culture

Zanzibar National Museum of History & Culture


Zanzibar Town (Stone Town & Ng’ambo) ,Tanzania


Mizingani Rd
One of the most prominent buildings in the old Stone Town is the elegant Beit el-Ajaib, now home to the Zanzibar National Museum of History & Culture . It’s also one of the largest structures in Zanzibar. It was built in 1883 by Sultan Barghash (r 1870–88) as a ceremonial palace. In 1896 it was the target of a British naval bombardment, the object of which was to force Khalid bin Barghash, who had tried to seize the throne after the death of Sultan Hamad (r 1893–96), to abdicate in favour of a British nominee. After it was rebuilt, Sultan Hamoud (r 1902–11) used the upper floor as a residential palace until his death. Later it became the
local political headquarters of the CCM. Its enormous doors are said to be the largest carved doors in East Africa. Inside it houses exhibits on the dhow culture of the Indian Ocean (ground floor) and on Swahili civilisation and 19th-century Zanzibar (1st floor). Everything is informatively labelled in English and Swahili, and well worth visiting. Just inside the entrance is a life-size mtepe – a traditional Swahili sailing vessel made without nails, the planks held together with only coconut fibres and wooden pegs.
adult/child US$3/1
Opening hours