The United Republic of Tanzania is located in the east part of the African continent. The state territory includes the part of the mainland, Zanzibar and some other islands in the Indian Ocean. Tanzania was formed in 1964 when the Republic of Tanganyika merged with the People's Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. The name “Tanzania” was also formed of two parts. “Tan” comes from “Tanganyika” and “Zan” from “Zanzibar”. The total area of the country is 945 203 km², and in the year 2013 the population was estimated to be approximately 48.3 million people.
Three of the five African Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania. Lake Victoria located in the north-east of the country is the largest lake on the continent. Lake Tanganyika well-known for its unique ecosystem is the second largest fresh water lake in world. It is the longest fresh-water lake in the world. Lake Nyasa (Malawi) is remarkable for being the habitat of more biological species than any other body of freshwater.
The main geographical point of interest in Tanzania is surely Kilimanjaro, which is the highest mountain in Africa.
Tanzania has a great reserve of minerals such as gold, diamonds, coal and etc. But one of the country’s natural resources stands out. Its name is tanzanite. This is a unique blue variety of the zoisite. The single tanzanite deposit in the world is located near Kilimanjaro in Mererani Hills. Tanzanite was formed approximately 585 million years ago by high temperature and pressures associated with the technomagmatic formation of the African Rift Valley. The mining area is only about two kilometers wide and four kilometers long. In 1990 the government of Tanzania split the territory into four blocks: A, B, C and D. The license to mine the largest block C was issued to Tanzanite One Mining Ltd. More than a half of the tanzanites on the world market are supplied by this company. The two adjoining blocks are divided by several hundreds of small mining companies.
Although the first tanzanites were found on the ground surface today they are mined only in shafts. Tanzanites are generally found at the depths of 80 – 100 meters. The researches have shown that the mineral deposits lie up to two kilometers deep. The rock containing tanzanite had a form of veins, which were broken into separate pieces called “boudins”. The name means “sausage” in French. Because of the geological features the tanzanite mining is quite difficult and success is often just a bit of luck.