An abandoned building displaying one of the famous Zanzibar doors.
An abandoned building displaying one of the famous Zanzibar doors. Craftsmen carved both the doors (out of teak or mahogany) and the stone reliefs above them, and tailored each door to the social position, religious practices, and occupation of its owner. Because of the Islamic ban on depicting living things, door patterns are abstract, their designs only suggesting the natural objects that inspired them. The outermost strip of the doorframe is always carved with a chain or rope in order to enslave any evil spirits attempting to force their way into the residence.