Monday, July 13, 2009


Today, my friend Erdem's adventure in Tanzania continues with a dream island: Zanzibar..

I came across to the name of Zanzibar for the first time in the title of a restaurant in Tesvikiye, Istanbul. When I asked the waiter whether that was a special liquor, he replied smiling: “No sir, that’s an island in Africa”.
Years passed, and I had the pleasure to visit the same island which inspired the owners of that restaurant. And, I learnt that Zanzibar meant the “coast of blacks” in Persian.

A typical fishing boat sailing on the coast of Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar.

Michamvi Beach.

Zanzibar, on the eastern shore of Africa, is approximately as large as the island of Rhodes. With a population of one million, it is an autonomous entity with a separate representative assembly.

A painter exposing his artworks at a street corner. Each painting has a distinct character with an aesthetic taste. What did strike me more was the colorful cohesion they represented altogether.

Once the capital of the Sultanate of Oman and the centre of the East African slave trade, Zanzibar is arguably the location in Tanzania where you can feel the Arabic influence the most. Its population is 99% Muslim.

A ballerina-looking girl posing for his father at sunset on the shore of Stone Town.

Farrokh Bulsara was born in Zanzibar in 1946. His parents were from Parsi origin in India and his father was working as a cashier for the British Colonial Office. You probably know him more under his new legal name, Freddie Mercury.

His inspiration for the lyrics of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” may have originated from his early childhood in Zanzibar, who knows?

An African girl with a dress in tatters posing like a princess under the rain at the Matemwe beach.

Michamvi coast. A teenager preparing to transport people to the other shore across the bay. He drives his traditional boat in the rising tide of the Indian Ocean.

“Hooked for life...”

It is possible to find various sea food at the night market in Stone Town.

Zanzibar is an attractive market for shoe-producers.:))

There are around 560 ornamented doors in Zanzibar, the oldest of which dates back to 1694.

Bare-footed princess

A girl I’ve met on the street, who accepted my request to take a picture whole-heartedly.

It was past seven in the morning. We met this little boy in one of the narrow streets of the old town. Despite the presence of his mother, he stared startled at the dark lens of the camera.

A Zanzibari girl in Matemwe, with shining black eyes. Although not that obvious, the guy who is reflected on her eyes, wonders how photogenic these Africans can be.

We may talk about the homeland of those wonderful creatures, Kenya, the next time, who knows?

(*): This article is published on the June 2009 issue of and a shorter version will be published on the fourth issue of

June 2009


  1. This is really great. Thank you for posting these pics.

  2. Zanzibar is such a beautiful name..., and of course I have heard it before, but did not know much (or nothing) about it. This was great. Thanks!

  3. Breathtaking pictures!!! Thank you sharing such beauty and history with us.

  4. What a beautiful series of photos and glimpse into life in Zanzibar ~ thank you!

  5. Zanzibar here means something we use to cut, like long knives...Great shots here. Thanks for the visit.

  6. These are amazing. Such beauty and soul!

  7. wow! amazing portraits and thanks for sharing this post... I love Africa and I will love to go one day before I die...

  8. I think I just stumbled into paradise! Your blog captured my soul...the stunning photos, cultural introductions, and beautiful memories and words.

    thank you for sharing such beauty!

  9. Thanks for your visit. :-)

    Your blog is MOST interesting, I'm happy to have found it.

  10. That photo of the little boy is amazing.

  11. What amazing photos (and text). Thanks for sharing...

  12. Beautiful pictures - you are absolutely right - how photogenic! Thanks for taking us along to Zanzibar - a place I probably will never see.

    Also thanks for stopping by my blog!

  13. Thats indeed the biggst insult you can say to any zanzibari "Tanzania" - Zanzibar became independent in Dec 1963. It has its own head of state, own national flag and anthem and own parliment- People of Zanzibar are called Zanzibar. Yes there is a psuedo-Union that is called Tanzania. However, even with that union, calling a zanzibari a tanzaian is a biggest slur..I only say that because you wrote "...arguably the location in Tanzania where you can feel the Arabic influence the most" Zanzibar has got persian influence + a great deal of Indian influence and we never want to be compared with the rest of Tanzania or Tangabyika in any form



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