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"Old Dispensary" Top 5 Page for this destination Zanzibar Town Things to Do Tip by sachara

Zanzibar Town Things to Do: 86 reviews and 172 photos

  Old Dispensary
by sachara

The Old Dispensary is a splendid example of the colonial architecture of India. On the occasion of Queen's Victoria's Golden Jubilee the building is founded as a hospital by Sir Tharia Topan, a businessman and one of the wealthiest men in Zanzibar at the end of the 19th century. He brougth Indian craftsmen to the island to construct the building.

Topan died before the building was completed. In 1900 the building is bought by the trustees of Nasser Nurmahomed and became, according to Topan's intentions, a charitable dispensary, though only at the groundfloor. At the first and second floor apartments were rented out to earn an income for the dispensary. The building functioned as a dispensary till the 1964 revolution. Under governmental ownership the building nearly collapsed, untill the Aga Khan Trust for Culture leased the building in 1990.

After restoration the building has its original glory again. Today it's the Stone Town Cultural Centre and you are free to visit, without entry charge. In the building we visited an exhibition in the Stone Town Exhbition Centre. The building has a lovely courtyard with richly decorated balconies. Also the front of the building has an ornated two storey balcony with abundant fretwork and fascia boards. At the top you can find the Chez Marina Restaurant.

Address: Mizingani Road, Stonetown
Directions: At the junction with the Malindi Road, 200 M south of the port entrance.
Phone: 024/223 3378

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 7, 2004
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