UNESCO awarded Stone Town with the World Heritage Site award in 2000 in recognition of its unique cultural and social importance. The status was awarded based on the following criteria:
- The Town of Zanzibar is an outstanding material manifestation of cultural fusion and harmonization. Mosques to churches, Indian temples to the Omani palaces and so forth are a testimony to the thousands of years of mutual tolerance among communities of different cultural origins.
- For many centuries there was intense sea borne trading activity between Asia and Africa, and this is illustrated in an exceptional manner by the architecture and urban structure of Stone Town.
- Zanzibar has great symbolic importance in the suppression of slavery, since it was one of the main slave-trading ports in East Africa and also the base from which its opponents such as David Livingstone conducted their campaigns.
The World Heritage Convention
The World Heritage Convention was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. The Convention Concerns the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. To date, more than 198 countries have adhered to the Convention, making it one of the most universal international legal instruments for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage.
By fostering communications between managers and the exchange of know-how pertaining to the management of World Heritage Cities, the OWHC is helping to support public officials in the execution of the responsibilities that each government that is a party to the Convention has assumed by signing the agreement, i.e., to act as the key guarantor of the preservation of the sites and monuments included on the UNESCO World Heritage List located within its territory.
To learn more about UNESCO and other World Heritage Sites, visit www.unesco.org.