A jewel of traditional Africa just off the east coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is not just a single island but comprised of two - Unguja or Zanzibar Island and Pemba Island. Unguja, itself surrounded by tiny islets, is the largest of the pair and Pemba lies 50km to its north.
The Assyrians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and English have all been here at one time or another. Some, particularly the Shirazi Persians and Omani Arabs, stayed to settle and rule. With this influence, Zanzibar has become predominantly Islamic (97%) - the remaining 3% is made up of Christians, Hindus and Sikhs. The earliest visitors to Zanzibar were Arab traders who are said to have arrived in the 8th century. The earliest building that remains on Zanzibar is the mosque at Kizimkazi which dates from 1107, and is a present-day tourist attraction.