Photos of Zanzibar by J. Sturtz in 1888


Antique photo Zanzibar

In the distance we see the Zanzibar town lighthouse (Ref 2 photo by J. Sturtz)

The poor state of the buildings is not just neglect, but also caused by the coral-stone they are built with.   The salt in the coral-stone works like a sort of cancer within the walls and requires continuous repair work. 

Zanzibar harbour

Same harbour view but from the opposite direction (Ref 2 photo by J.Sturtz)

Wangemann (ref 1 page 10 1890 writes about the large white building with a flat roof, a little left of the centre of the photo): "This is the Sultan's arsenal. It contains thousands of antique ship guns made of iron or bronze with Arab and Portuguese inscriptions, many of them 300 or 400 years old! Most of the material is in a poor state" Somewhere on the right of the Arsenal is the ice-factory.


Antique photo Zanzibar

The dhow harbour in Zanzibar with the Lighthouse in the distance (Ref 2 photo by J. Sturtz)


Old  photo Zanzibar harbour

Landing-place of Zanzibar harbour (Ref 2 photo by J. Sturtz)

Rooftop panorama of Zanzibar seen from the old German hospital. At the horizon we see the clock-tower (ref 2 photo Jr. Sturtz around 1888)

Wangemann (ref 1 page page 18) writes about this photo: The Arab houses are very impractical in this climate: humid and dark, with their small windows. Early in the evening children and women go to the roofs of their houses to enjoy the drop in temperature. They are not afraid fall off the flat roofs without fences. The many jewellery on arms and legs is sparkling in the sunset.

Comment: On the earliest photos by John Kirk in the 1870's we see some houses with wind-towers (an early and very clever Arab technique of air-conditioning) on later photos these towers have disappeared, not sure why.


Antique photo zanzibar

Southern part of the main street of Zanzibar town (ref 2 photo taken by J. Sturtz)


Antique photo Zanzibar fort

 The Sultan of Zanzibar garrison is based in the fort / barrack with its long and high walls seen in the distance, the family members for the soldiers live in the huts on the right. Photo taken from the roof of the old German hospital, the road is the Mnasimoja. Beyond the fort is the Indian graveyard (ref 2 photo J. Sturtz)


Indian Graveyard Zanzibar

 Indian Graveyard


Indian mosque Zanzibar

 Indian mosque / temple Zanzibar, probably next to the Indian graveyard.


Antique photo Zanzibar

Ladies carrying water from a well in Zanzibar (Ref 2 photo J. Sturtz)


 Antique photo zanzibar Ngambo

 Zanzibar town Ngambo quarters (on the other side of the Creek) Ref 2 photo J. Sturtz

J Osgood (Ref 3) writes: " Over each doorway is fixed a passage from the Koran, usually written on a piece of paper.  In this practice  may be noticed the superstitious belief in demony, and their implicit faith in the power of charms and amulets to keep off evil spirits . The devil, or Shatan, as they call him is a continued source of annoyance." 

The smaller ships are used for sailing to and from the East African coast.  The sea going Dhows travel to Oman and further. The Ocean going dhow trade depended on the direction of the monsoon winds.

  1. Land und Leute in Deutsch Ost Afrika Wangemann (text); Sturtz (photos) There is a second edition of  1890 and a third of 1894. No copy of the first edition is known: Maybe there is a relation of this first edition with of our set of 50 photos which are higher resolution variants of the Sturtz photos in the Wangemann book.
  2. Erinnerung an die Ostafrikanische Blockade und  meiner Reise an bord SMS Carola 1888-1890 (50 original photos, by naval officer J. Sturz, the album belonged to Emil Voelker and have his manuscript captions on the photos) Emil Voelker was on-board the SMS Carola during these events.
  3. Joseph B.F. Osgood Notes of Travel or recollections of Majunga, Zanzibar, muscat, Aden, Mocha and other Eastern ports Salem 1854 page 28