The City of Alasora: place of an ancient Madagascan Royal Residence

The historic site of Alasora is one of the twelve sacred hills of the ancient Merina Kingdom. Located in the southeastern part of the capital, just half an hour away from the city centre, the rural municipality of Alasora was founded more than five centuries ago, seat of the kingdom of Queen Rangita and Rafohy.
The fortified royal complex of Alasora was erected by the first Merina ruler Prince Ramasimparihy in 1490. Ten years later, Rangita, ruler of Imerimanjaka attributed its current name to it. At her death, her daughter Rafohy took the throne. Andriamanelo, son of Rafohy, was born in Imerimanjaka in 1540. During his reign he brought various innovations on the political and social level. The setting up of "hadivory" around the royal palaces is one of the most important innovations brought by the sovereign. Encircling the royal residence, this deep ravine was intended to protect the palace from possible invasions. In addition, a second ditch called "hadifetsy" was built around the "hadivory" to keep the invaders busy and delay their arrival at the palace. The use of iron for the manufacture of weapons (spears) or tools (spades), also began during the reign of Andriamanelo. The invention of the traditional canoe and the use of this means of transport during ceremonies such as the royal baths was also one of the highlights of his reign.
Still today in Alasora its prestigious past becomes manifest in its royal palace, its impressive erected stones, its royal tombs topped with a "tranomasina" or "tranomanara" and in its two series of ditches. And still, the tomb of Prince Andriamanelo is used as place to celebrates offerings and recollections. Especially during certain traditional festivals of the Malagasy calendar, the ritual of zebu sacrifice, this historical site comes alive.
This article was featured in Prime Magazine June 2018

Useful Information

When to go

Antananarivo has a warm temperate climate where the warm season is marked by stormy rains and a very cold winter. In general, the weather in Antananarivo is pleasant.

How to get there

Ivato International Airport connects Antananarivo to the world's major cities. From Paris, fly directly to Ivato Airport with regular flights from Air Madagascar.

Where to stay

The hotel "Colbert" is one of the most beautiful hotels in the city, a real palace with sublime surroundings. The "Tana Hotel" is also in town. From hotels "La Ribaudière" or "Urban Hotel", the view onto the city centre is exceptional.

Where to eat

The restaurants of these hotels offer a variety of menus. For local cuisine, make an appointment at "Chef Mariette", a renown chef of Malagasy gastronomy.

What to see

Visit the capital, see the hills with their ancient buildings dating back to colonisation and the historical monuments, starting with the Queen's Palace in Manjakamiadana. Not far from there lies the Prime Minister's Palace and the avenues that have marked history. You can also visit the Ambohimanga Palace of former King Andriananmpoinimerina located a few kilometres outside of the capital.