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The Arab fort in Zanzibar

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The Arab fort in Zanzibar

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Date Posted:July 16th, 2008
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Description: This is on of the few stone buildings that Seyyid Said found in 1829, on his arrival on Zanzibar. In 1832 Seyyid Said made Zanzibar the Capital city of Oman, settling there with his family and followers. His aim was to transform Zanzibar into a major trading centre for countries around the world. This move was partly influenced by the fact that Zanzibar's coral reefs offered a natural protection from enemy attacks from the sea. In addition Zanzibar also had a natural deep harbour which could anchor large ships, and an abundant supply of fresh spring water.

It stands on the site occupied circa 1710 by a ruined Portuguese church and residential quarters which were converted by the arabs into a primitive fort for the town garrison.
The fort was unsuccessfully attacked by Mazrui arabs from Mombasa in 1754. Up and until 1928 it was the depot for the Bububu railway, Zanzibar's first railway now no longer in existance.
The Fort has a quadrilateral plan with circular towers at its corners and interconnecting defense walls. The original fortified entrance gate facing the sea was replaced in 1949.
The beautifully carved Arab door, at the main entrance, was formerly in a house belonging to Sultan Seyyid Khaled bin Mohammed. It has two small subsidiary doors, cut into the two larger door sections, for the use of children.

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