Zanzibar Culture 2: Art, Religion & Tradition
You have heard these words before. It wasn’t a Disney invention: it’s a Swahili phrase, that means “no worries/no problem”. And it’s a significant trait of our culture. We are a calm, respectful and friendly people who try to enjoy life at their own pace.
Maybe that’s why we always engage so well with visitors.
But there are many other things to say about our traditions and culture. In the last post, we explained our history and our economy a bit, and today we’ll go deeper in the human heart of Zanzibar.
Religions in Zanzibar
Most of our population is Muslim. Islam arrived to Zanzibar as early as on the 8th century, and it became the common religion, so you’ll see a lot of mosques in Stone Town and our villages. And you’ll hear the muezzin calling to prayer, echoing through the narrow streets and alleys of the city centre.
It’s a real experience!
There are other religions in Zanzibar, though, there is religious freedom here. You’ll understand this when you contemplate the main mosque and the Anglican cathedral so close each other.
A curious piece, this cathedral: it’s built in traditional Zanzibar coral stone, with European gothic details, and also with Islamic decoration. Pure Zanzibar!
Arts in Zanzibar
There are many art expressions to enjoy in Zanzibar, but today we want to highlight two of them.
- The Carved Doors: Since medieval times, buildings in Stone Town have been made of coral stone (our main construction resource), with a big main door made of carved wood. Every design is different. Every door is unique. Try to discover as many as you can in a single visit!
- Tinga Tinga Art: Here’s a nice story. The story of a particular art style, genuinely originated in Tanzania by a single man: Edward Saidi Tingatinga. Born in 1932, this man engaged a whole new way to make art. He only used recycled and low-cost materials and bicycle paint to create African images with a surrealistic, naïve look.
Western visitors got fascinated by Tinga Tinga art, and now, decades later, it has become a unique local style in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Here you can get a glimpse of how these paintings are made:
A Tinga Tinga painting would be a perfect memento of your visit to this amazing, quiet, friendly island!
So, tell us… when do you want to book?