House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib), Stone Town

Architectural Building · Historic Site
Admire colonial and fin-de-siècle architecture at House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib), a landmark building in Stone Town. Built in 1883 as a modern lavish palace for a pro-British sultan and slave trader, this extravagant building was the first in Zanzibar to have electricity and running water. Today, it houses a museum of local heritage. Learn about the culture of coastal and inland Swahili tribes, browsing through a collection of artifacts and photographs, and explore restored period rooms. Don't miss the highlight, a large mtepe, or traditional Swahili boat. Check out the cannons in the yard, and get a great view of the port and a historic fort. Put House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib) at the forefront of your travel plans using our Zanzibar City tour builder app.
Improve this listing »
Create an itinerary including House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib)
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib) reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 3.0
650 reviews
  • We did a tour of Stone Town and took great pics of this Historical Town. Part of the building collapsed a few weeks ago so now they are restoring but will take a long time , luckily we saw it in all....  more »
  • We visited it yesterday 25 December 2020. 20 minutes before we visited it collapsed!! (see the news). Luckily we stopped at the church for the Christmas Day service for 20 minutes . So you can no.....  more »
  • The history of this building is nice to hear. But the building itself is not accessible and was surrounded with fences. Its old and needs to be restored. In the end its just one of the stops on your....  more »
  • The houuse of Wonders is located in Stone Town in Zanzibar opposite the Forodhani Gardens. It is significant building in terms of historical importance in the Zanzibar islands. It is believed to have been the first tallest building in the whole East African region during the 19th century when it was built. It is also believed to have had the most modern technology in the whole Africa as it housed the first elevator, the first phone, and the first ever used tap water. Several wonders can be seen inside including the dhow located just near the entrance and many more. Most visitors who come to Zanzibar visit this place which house the memories of Oman Sultanate in the Islands.
  • The House of Wonders is closed and possibly being restored. The same can be said of the Natural History museum and the nearby art museum. The Palace Museum is a different Palace and is worth a visit. It still has much of the furniture used in the early 20th century. The State House has no access. Hopefully more buildings will be open in the future.
  • Wonderful landmark building in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Largest tallest building in Stone Town, facing the Forodhani Gardens on the old town's seafront, in Mizingani Road. Lies between the Old Fort and the Palace Museum. It is one among the six palaces built by Barghash bin Said, second Sultan of Zanzibar and was built in 1883. First building to have electricity in Zanzibar and an elevator in East Africa. Light house which stood in front the building got destroyed in the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 27 August 1896 causing minor damage to Beit Al Ajaib. Renovation in1897 brought in Clock Tower into the façade of the building. It was a government office, a school and later a museum. After renovation it will shine fully with bygone glory. It is and will be one of Stone Town's major tourist attractions. Good luck.
  • House of wonders is still under renovation and nobody knows how much is the structure damaged. Hope people should be able to see it sooner.
  • Very very amazing the leading tower for sailors to unguja and it was the first building to have an electricity

Plan your trip to Zanzibar City

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.