Ambohimanga in Antananarivo is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Madagascar. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The site is located about 24 km at the east of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.
What to See
The site is comprised of a walled village. The burial sites of the Imerina royal family members are there. The main gate can still be seen. There are 7 gates in all. Every morning and evening, 20 soldiers will roll a large stone disk 30 cm thick and 40 meters in diameter over the largest gate.
The stone weighs 12 tons. The Mahandrihono has an edifice which functioned as the residence of King Andrianampoinimerina. This is one of the main features in Ambohimanga in Antananarivo. Nanjaka was an older fortress built nearby, but it is now in ruins.
The country’s history was influenced by its isolation from the continents, including Africa. Among the earliest settlers were the people from Borneo. They came to the island via outrigger canoes sometime between 200 BCE and 500 CE.
The past 2,000 years saw an influx of settlers come to the island. These included Europeans, Chinese, South Asian, Arab, East African and Austronesian. Of all the settlers, the East African and Austronesian dominated.
By the Middle Ages, more than a dozen ethic identities came to dominate the place. A chieftain ruled over each one. Several of these became kingdoms,
whose wealth increased through exchanges with Arab and European traders. Pirate activity flourished in Madagascar from the 16th to 18th centuries. The Libertatia pirate colony was set up on Saint Mary’s Island.
By the 19th century, the Kingdom of Imerina started taking control over many of the island’s other regions. The 19th century saw the Merina rulers take control of the country.
A full tour of Madagascar will cost anywhere from 1000 to 2000 Euros.
Also inside the compound are the pavilions of Queen Ranavalona II. These buildings were built in 1871 and made of rosewood. One of them has a visitors room. There is also a salon.
At the second floor is the Queen’s bedroom. The other room is called the Trano Fitaratra (house of glass). Here the Queen would hold counsel with her ministers.
Ambohimanga in Antananarivo also has the Amparihy. These are two basins etched from stone. One was used as a swimming pool for Ranavalona I. The other served as the bath of Andrianampoinimerina.