Restoration of Stone Town’s doors – Stone Town, Zanzibar

This project was established in order to secure funding for the continued restoration to the doors of Stone Town, Zanzibar. These doors are an important part of Stone Town heritage and their loss would be a further erosion of the rich architectural environment that exists on the island.


The doors themselves are large, ornately carved timber doors which have become synonymous with Zanzibar and especially Stone Town. Brass bosses decorate the exterior of the doors and motifs of dates, fish and lotus leaves are carved around the perimeter frame and reflect the culture and context of this town. The timber lintel to the door is decorated with carved patterns and some doors contain text from the Quran or the name of the owner of the house. These doors are located in many Stone Town buildings and are mostly made of teak from forests that no longer exist. 


The proposed project would allow for an inventory to be taken of all existing doors in Stone Town, listing their condition and what work will be required to restore them to their previous condition.


Due to neglect and a lack of funds some of these important doors have become damaged and now require urgent attention. In recent years some of these doors have been successfully restored. This provided skilled training in timber conservation for the locals involved whilst also restoring some of the architectural heritage of the town.


Therefore through this project some of Stone Town’s heritage can be saved whilst providing skilled training and employment for the locals involved. Restoration of the door to the Hamamni school was completed in 2007. Workshops were organized to train locals in timber restoration. This approach was a success and the door was completed and re-installed in position three weeks later

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