PHOTOS: This Historic City Was Once The Thriving centre Of The Spice And Slave Trades In Zanzibar

cows beach zanzibar

Reprinted with permission from Gregor Röhrig

Zanzibar, an island off the coast of East Africa, is a melting pot with Portuguese, Arab, Indian, and East African influences.Cape Town-based photographer Gregor Röhrig traveled there in 2009 for vacation and was amazed by what he saw, especially on the streets of Stone Town, the heart of Zanzibar and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the birthplace of Freddy Mercury.

Röhrig shared some photos and memories of the trip with us. Be sure to check out his website and Facebook group.

Have an amazing travel story and photos to share? Send an email to [email protected] and we could feature your adventure next.

Zanzibar, which is part of Tanzania, sits about 20 miles off the coast of eastern Africa.

The population of Zanzibar, which consists of a main island and several smaller islands, is under a million people.

The heart of the island is Stone Town, the historic centre of Zanzibar City.

In the 19th century, it flourished as a centre of the spice and slave trades.

Most of the city's architecture dates back to the 19th century, and it reflects a unique mix of Arab, Persian, Indian and European influences.

It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

For Röhrig, a photographer, the most incredible part of his 2009 trip to Zanzibar was walking the streets of Stone Town.

The city's narrow streets are lined with houses, shops, bazaars and mosques.

Often, the alleyways are too small for cars, and many people transverse the city on bikes and motorcycles.

The Peace Memorial is one of Stone Town's many historic buildings.

Despite their UNESCO designation, many of the buildings are deteriorating.

Today, Zanzibar's economy thrives on spices and tourism.

Röhrig snapped this photo of a spice vendor at the market place in Stone Town.

The market is one of the most vibrant parts of the old city.

From the looks of it, nearly every type of fruit and spice can be found there.

Even halfway across the world, there are signs of American influence.

Stone Town sits close to the city's harbor.

Fishermen head out in boats called dhows, and return with their catches.

Cows also wander the beach--a strange sight.

There's a market by the harbor where fishermen gather.

And sell their fish to the crowds.

Of course, the beach is a popular destination for Zanzibar's other major export--tourism.

And just like that, it's time to go.

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