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Zanzibar > Pictures and travelogues > Stone Town's Music Academy and Port

Pictures from Stone Town in Zanzibar IslandZanzibar Port, the Big Tree, and Stone Town's Dhow Countries Music Academy. 

Dhow Countries Music Academy in Stone Town, Zanzibar
Learning Music at the Dhow Countries Music Academy in Stone Town, Zanzibar. 
Here a Qanun, sometimes spelled Kanun, a string instrument related to zither. 

The Old 
Customs House of Zanzibar is currently home to the Dhow Countries Music Academy. It is located at the seafront of the city, just a stone's throw away from the Palace Museum. 

The Dhow Countries Music Academy is a non-governmental organization that provides music lessons as well as music instruments at minimal cost to anyone interested in studying music, with special emphasis on teaching and preserving the unique traditional Swahili music.

The Dhow Countries Music Academy offers both individual and group lessons. Students may also practice by themselves on the balcony of the building overlooking the seafront and the harbor of Zanzibar. The fees are low and subsidized. 

The building is a three-story structure arranged around a large central courtyard. It was first erected as one of the family houses of Sultan Majid Bin Said (1856-1870).  In 1896, the imposing cast iron balcony was added to the front of the house. As from 1928, the building housed the offices of the Customs Department (thence its name) and from 1980 the income tax department. After 1987, the Old Customs House of Zanzibar was largely empty. It was renovated by Aga Khan Trust for Culture during the years 1990's.

Big Tree, at Stone Town's seafront (Zanzibar).
The Big Tree at Stone Town's seafront (Zanzibar).

The Big Tree is a gigantic banyan (fig tree) with many aerial roots. It is situated at Stone Town's seafront near the Old Dispensary. This landmark tree is quite visible from the harbor.

The tree was planted by Sultan Khalifa bin Harub in 1944 to commemorate the bicentenary of the Busaidi dynasty. It is regarded as a sacred tree.

 The ample shadow offered by the tree made it a favorite place for some street vendors and craftsmen. This popular meeting place is also a good place to hire a boat to Prison Island or Bawe Island.

Zanzibar Port
Zanzibar Port (Stone Town harbor).

Zanzibar Port was built in 1925 at Malindi (northern part of Stone Town) and rehabilitated between 1989 and 1992 and again between 2004 and 2009 with financial assistance from the European Union. It handles more than 90% of Zanzibar trade. The port includes the ferry terminal to Dar es Salaam (mainland Tanzania) and Pemba Island.


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Travel guide and travel directory to Zanzibar with many pictures.