The cultural roots of Zanzibar are manifested in the many elaborately carved wooden doors of Stone Town. You immediately notice the clash of Arab, Indian and Swahili traditions in the design of the doors as you walk in the streets of Stone Town. If you are keen enough, you will be able to find out how these masterpieces tell stories of the social status, religion, profession and generally the way of life of the residents of Zanzibar.

A street in Stone Town

You will pass many street corners with men sitting and talking in really fine Swahili accents, some sipping and enjoying their coffee, women Β carrying huge packages upon their heads, cats lazying around and kids cycling and playing jovially. The distinct doors of Stone Town frame all these moments.

Little ones dipped in chocolate

What cats do best; lazying around


Any local will be willing to help you know how to differentiate the doors.

Swahili doors are modest wooden doors without fancy decorations.

Modest Swahili door

Arab doors have intricately decorated frames and many of them are generally rectangular.

Arab door with a decorated frame

Indian doors are of two types: the first kind is those divided into smaller sections and have fold-able shutters, the second type is those with brass studs. The brass studs in India were used to protect the doors from elephants but if you ask a local, they will tell you that these brass studs showcase the wealth of the residents just like other decorations.

Indian door with brass studs

As you scroll over the doors of Stone Town, try differentiating them. Good luck!

Doors for sale!

Cool doors are such gems! Share other destinations with cool doors for door hunters like me!