Exploring the cultural heart of Zanzibar, you’ll find sea-front Stone Town has changed little over the last two hundred years. A place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques, grand Arab houses and a gigantic banyan tree, the old town is seeped through with the island’s sultanate and imperial history. The extravagant Arab dwellings, with their enclosed verandas and heavy, decorated wooden doors, were displays of wealth one-upmanship amongst the traders. Spend a day wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and you’ll see many of the elaborately carved and brass-studded doorways. They speak of the riches Zanzibar residents once amassed, though little of the slave trade on which they were based; in the courtyard of theAnglican Cathedral you’ll find a modern sculpture of five figures in a rectangular pit, shackled together with a chain brought from Bagamoyo, the most notorious slave port on the mainland. The confines of the nearby slave markets are another humbling reminder of Zanzibar’s role in the brutal trade and, thankfully, in stark contrast to the modern, ebullient locals you’ll meet by the big Bayan.