Anglican Cathedral

sights / Religious

Anglican Cathedral information

Zanzibar Town , Tanzania
off New Mkunazini Rd
admission incl slave chambers Tsh6000
Opening hours
8am-6pm Mon-Sat, noon-6pm Sun
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Constructed in the 1870s by the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA), this was the first Anglican cathedral in East Africa. It was built on the site of the old slave market , the altar reputedly marking the spot of the whipping tree where slaves were lashed with a stinging branch. It’s a moving sight, remembered by a white marble circle surrounded by red to symbolise the blood of the slaves.

The driving force behind the construction of the cathedral was Bishop Edward Steere (1874–82), but the inspiration was David Livingstone, whose call to compassion the missionaries answered in 1864 when they settled on the island. One of the stained-glass windows is dedicated to his memory, while the crucifix is made from the tree that grew where his heart was buried in the village of Chitambo in Zambia.

Also worth seeking out is the moving Slave Memorial in the garden. The sculpture, by Swedish artist Clara Sornas, depicts five slaves standing in a pit below ground level. The poignant figures emerge from the rough hewn rock and thus appear hopelessly trapped, shoulders slumped in despair. Around their necks they wear metal collars from which a chain binds them. It’s a disturbing and haunting sight.

Services are still held at the cathedral on Sunday mornings.