Location: Stone Town, Zanzibar.
Description: Most visitors to Zanzibar will visit Stone Town on the western side
of the island. Due to the tropical sun’s midday sting, the houses in
Stone Town have always been built in tightly packed huddles accessed
off narrow alleyways, keeping the heat and glare at bay.
With this muted architecture, the ornately carved door soon became the most important feature of the external appearance of a house. Its quality and size was a sign of the house-owner’s status and wealth.
The longevity of the Stone Town doors – often outlasting the houses whose entrances they once guarded – is the result of the wood used, including teak and sesame imported from India (the use of sesame perhaps lending sense to Ali Baba’s “Open Sesame”). The brass studs are said to have been intended to repel marauding elephants, but as elephants are unlikely to have ever lived on Zanzibar, it seems more likely that the story came from India along with the doors!
Equipment: Nikon D300 (Sigma 10-20mm)
Date: August 2008