Old Dispensary (Aga Khan Cultural Centre) - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Old Dispensary (Aga Khan Cultural Centre)

Old Dispensary (Aga Khan Cultural Centre)

An architectural symbol of the mixed bag of cultures evident in Zanzibar's history, the elaborate Old Dispensary was so named because it long housed a dispensary on the ground floor, with a pharmacy and resident doctor. An affluent Ismaili Indian merchant, Tharia Topan, who financed the building project, laid the first brick 1887 and completed building in 1894. One of the most decorative buildings of the time, the Old Dispensary is adorned with ornate carved balconies, stuccowork and stained glass windows. Restored in the early 1990s, the Dispensary now houses a small museum on the upper level with old photographs of Stone Town's waterfront and displays illustrating the intricate restoration process. There are also some curio shops on the ground floor.

Information & Facts

Mizingani Road, Stone Town
Swahili and English are the official languages. Several indigenous languages are also spoken.

The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), divided into 100 cents. The tourism industry prices everything in US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on travellers cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only. Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10% surcharge.

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