Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar; today a world heritage site .
The town is built on a triangular peninsula of land and consists predominantly of Arab combined with a blend of Indian and European architecture.
It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings.
There are currently about 1,700 buildings in Stone Town, out of which 1,100 have been classified as having architectural significance.
The town also has 23 landmark buildings, two cathedrals, over 50 mosques, 157 balconies, verandas and loggias, around 250 carved doors and of course the famous fort built by the Omanis right in front of Forodhani Park .
By the middle of the 18 th century, the Zanzibar archipelago was the world's largest producer of cloves, and the largest slave trading centre on the East African coast.
Slaves were used for the cultivation and harvesting of cloves and the first Sultan Said owned so much land that by his death in 1856, he had 45 plantations. Plots were also acquired by his children, and by the many concubines and eunuchs from the royal harem.
Over time, several other spices such as cinnamon, cumin, ginger, pepper and cardamom were introduced. Their rich scent became synonymous with Zanzibar, which became known as the 'Spice Islands'.
The House of Spices was one of the most notable houses of Zanzibar Stone Town, belonging to an old family of Spice Traders. Spices from the Islands of Pemba and Zanzibar were collected here, spreading their fragrant aroma over the house and the surrounding narrows streets of Stone Town. Once in the house they were selected, ground and packed before being exported to Europe and to the Americas.
The house has been kept in good order and any restorations have followed the original plans over the many years of its history. Even though over 200 years have been passed since it was built, The House of Spices carries fully intact, the romance and atmosphere of an old Arab House.