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

1.9
#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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Google
3.7
TripAdvisor
  • 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 »
Google
  • 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.
  • Wonderful landmark building in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Largest tallest building in Stone Town, facing the Forodhani Gardens on the old town's seafront, in Mizingani Road. Lies between the Old Fort and the Palace Museum. It is one among the six palaces built by Barghash bin Said, second Sultan of Zanzibar and was built in 1883. First building to have electricity in Zanzibar and an elevator in East Africa. Light house which stood in front the building got destroyed in the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 27 August 1896 causing minor damage to Beit Al Ajaib. Renovation in1897 brought in Clock Tower into the façade of the building. It was a government office, a school and later a museum. After renovation it will shine fully with bygone glory. It is and will be one of Stone Town's major tourist attractions. Good luck.
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