5 December 2012

Tanzania: Mji Mkongwe Famous House of Wonder Collapses

LEADERS, tourism operators, and residents of Zanzibar have joined hands of distress, following the collapse of historical House of Wonders last Sunday, probably due to the ongoing rains.

Vice presidents Seif Sharif Hamad, and Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi are among those who have expressed their depression after visiting the scene of the event. No casualties were reported.

However, some of the interviewed people blame the government for poor maintenance of the historical buildings in Stone Town. The House of Wonders or Palace of Wonders which occupies a prominent place facing the Forodhani Gardens on the old town's seafront is the first landmark building in Zanzibar and in the East and Central African region.

The building was the largest and tallest building in Stone Town, and is one of six palaces built by Barghash bin Said, second Sultan of Zanzibar in the 17th century palace of Zanzibari queen Fatuma.

The House of Wonders was being used as a Museum of History & Culture of Zanzibar & the Swahili Coast, before its collapse. Mr Hamad has ordered that all activities in the building be stopped.

The palace was intended as a ceremonial palace and official reception hall, celebrating modernity, and it was named "House of Wonders" because it was the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity, and also the first building of East Africa to have an elevator.

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