Tragedy at Zanzibar’s House of Wonders
The Rising from the Depths Team were saddened to hear of the partial collapse of the House of Wonders in Zanzibar on 25th December 2020. All of the RftD team wish to express our solidarity with colleagues at the Department of Antiquities in Zanzibar and our sadness at the tragic loss of life and injury among the conservation team. The House of Wonders is an iconic heritage landmark of Zanzibar’s waterfront. Built in 1883, it was the palace of Barghash bin Said, the second Omani Sultan of Zanzibar. The site also housed the Museum of History and Culture in Zanzibar. As such, it was an important monument that both embodied the colonial heritage of Zanzibar, based on maritime Indian Ocean trade, and was central to the heritage infrastructure of Zanzibar town. Colleagues at UNESCO and the government of Oman are working with Zanzibar’s Department of Antiquities on the restoration of the House of Wonders, which suffered earlier collapses in 2012 and 2015.