zanzibar: the spice islands
The Spice Islands, a history of slave trade, the birthplace of Freddie Mercury, and an island paradise – these are all synonymous with this semi-autonomous island region off the Tanzanian coast. Zanzibar is a place steeped in history, resulting in the incomparable charm of Stone Town. It's also home to the red colobus monkey, and a local people one with the sea. For the local people of Zanzibar, life revolves around the water. It provides the food they eat, the money they make, and the place they work. Drying anchovies - locally called dagaa - used in food preparation as a cheaper alternative to other fish. Fishing boat maintenance at low tide - without damaging the hull, small fires are lit to burn off excessive algae build up. Baobab trees are noted for having trunks of sizable girth, and are steeped in legend and superstition. They are native to the African continent, having traditionally been valued as a source of food, water, health remedies, and places of shelter. These trees have been known to be greater than 1000 years old. In drier regions, they have typically been a sign of water when seen from afar. Baobabs can be as much as 25 metres high, with diameters of up to 14 metres. Endemic to Zanzibar, the red colobus monkey is now endangered due to loss of habitat. A couple thousand individuals remain, with 50 percent of the population found outside protected areas. Ruled by the Portuguese in the 16th and 17th centuries, Zanzibar presents a confluence of cultures - Arab, Persian, Indian, European and African – and has historically been a springboard for trade with the Swahili coast for Arab, Persian, and Indian sailors. The archipelago came under control of the Sultan of Oman in 1698, becoming a hub of trade for spices, ivory, and slaves. In 1890, Zanzibar became a British protectorate. Stone Town draws its name from the use of coral stone as the main building material for most of its structures. Darajani Market in Stone Town is mainly a food market of seafood, meat, fruits, grains and spices, but also has several stalls selling consumer electronics and clothing. The market's main building was constructed in 1904.