The doors of Zanzibar come in all different types from Arabic to Indian. The clash of all the doors makes the streets look spectacular. The doors mixing with the people hanging around is quite the sight. The doors came together through trading, and that is why today they are everywhere.

There are three types of doors: Indian, Arabic, and Swahili. Indian doors most commonly have a curved top and brass studs all over the door that used to be used to keep elephants out but now they are used for beauty. The Arabic doors are rectangular, and have Arabic script written all over them to explain the wealth, job, religion, and many other things of the resident. For example, a fish would explain that the resident was a fisherman. The Swahili doors are just modest rectangle doors with no extra decorations. If you look closely at the doors, every single one is different in their own way. The Indian doors also have a relationship to the Arabic doors in a way, but the two are still both quite distinct.

The doors come from a long time ago, from the 16th-19th century. However, there are still new doors all around. You can occasionally find replicas in curio shops, so the tradition has not ended… yet. All the doors have some similarities so it’s not like there’s a pink triangle door on one side of the street and a blue and green Indian door on the other side.

I am loving the lovely doors of Zanzibar colliding with each other in one city.

Below: Indian door

Below: Arabic doors

Below: Arabic-Indian doors

Below: Swahili door