House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib), Stone Town

#5 of 14 in Historic Sites in Zanzibar Island
Admire colonial and fin-de-siècle architecture at House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib), a landmark building in Stone Town. Built in 1883 as a modern lavish palace for a pro-British sultan and slave trader, this extravagant building was the first in Zanzibar to have electricity and running water. Today, it houses a museum of local heritage. Learn about the culture of coastal and inland Swahili tribes, browsing through a collection of artifacts and photographs, and explore restored period rooms. Don't miss the highlight, a large mtepe, or traditional Swahili boat. Check out the cannons in the yard, and get a great view of the port and a historic fort. Put House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib) at the forefront of your travel plans using our Zanzibar City tour builder app.
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House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib) Reviews
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  • This is well advertised, but apparently has been under renovation for some time, so you can only walk past the building and it is covered in scaffolding. There are also sections closed of to the...  more »
  • It was an interesting tour but feel the premises could have been better kept and maintained. Some elements like the paintings were in wonderful condition.  more »
  • The houuse of Wonders is located in Stone Town in Zanzibar opposite the Forodhani Gardens. It is significant building in terms of historical importance in the Zanzibar islands. It is believed to have been the first tallest building in the whole East African region during the 19th century when it was built. It is also believed to have had the most modern technology in the whole Africa as it housed the first elevator, the first phone, and the first ever used tap water. Several wonders can be seen inside including the dhow located just near the entrance and many more. Most visitors who come to Zanzibar visit this place which house the memories of Oman Sultanate in the Islands.
  • The House of Wonders is closed and possibly being restored. The same can be said of the Natural History museum and the nearby art museum. The Palace Museum is a different Palace and is worth a visit. It still has much of the furniture used in the early 20th century. The State House has no access. Hopefully more buildings will be open in the future.

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