"The King, his Hut and the Rock...on a Blue Hill" Ambohimanga by Norali

Ambohimanga Travel Guide: 35 reviews and 124 photos

For me, most important building in the compound, Nampoina's hut


- because it's so simple and modest given the status and achievements this great King of the 17th century;

- because it's a so different style than that of the Queens summer palaces in the same compound;

- because whilst the "Hut" served as main residence of a reigning King, the other buildings just served as summer palaces. Their interiors are strikingly different. Whislt the Hut only has one room, simply equipped of a fireplace, a bed, some ustensils, the Palaces were adorned with leather wallpaper (donation from the then Spanish King), pieces of furniture from European courts and Japan whislt one of our Queen received from Queen Victoria a beautiful glass for her bedroom.

- And also because "Ambohimanga" means "Nampoina", shortened name of KING ANDRIANAMPOINIMERINA. To know more about the King, check the Things To Do tips.

Anyway, welcome to a virtual tour of one of the TWO Malagasy sites listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. It is the most visited of the cultural sites in Madagascar. I guess the Manjakamiadana Rova on Antananarivo hill would have shared this disticton if it had not been arsoned a decade ago (not "burnt", "arsoned"!).

THE BLUE HILL because it is covered by this thick dark blue-green primitive forest.

THE ROCK ? Which one ? Ok, check my General tips to know which one I am talking about.

+++ The page is fit to be seen (imho -- tried my best) but I'll add more historical facts when I finish reading my book. I invite you to start with the General tips then only the Things to do, Local custom tips... +++


Here, on background, the Queens summer palace.

Notice the difference in style between the Hut and those colonial buildings which use to be summer palaces. Nampoina's Hut was built circa mid-1800s whislt the summer palaces nearly one century later.

On front, a patch where used to be the tombs of Nampoina and Ranavalona II. Following the French colonization, Governor Gallieni violated the sacreness of the place by removing the dead corpses and transferring them to Antananarivo (!). That's a crime. Though, the worship is still very noticeable. Either you see some people standing on a corner and "talking to the Kings/ Queens spirit", offering beads, sweats, honey, flower and toaka gasy.. either you'll see those offerings laid on those corners, on rocks..


The complex being built on the hill (1500 meter above sea level), you'll sure have those views. While visitng the complex, I went with two cameras (a reflex with a good telelens and a digital). Thinking I had bought a 36-pose roll (Note to self, next time, I should check more carefully notices on the film packs at the supermarket), I snapped snapped but foud out I only had a 12-pose one.. so I quiclky ran out of film. My digital camera didn't give justice to the views, the setting then I just skipped some photo "opportunities" that my digicam wouldn't have seize correctly.

  • Last visit to Ambohimanga: Mar 2005
  • Intro Updated May 5, 2005
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Reviews (35)

Comments (9)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Great tips

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    The Royal compound and Queen's burial site are great monuments to the heritage. You have done an excellent job of discussing the culture and sites, and the pictures are helpful.

  • ukirsari's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2005 at 7:45 AM

    love the scenery and old building very much noor. and look at there >> your old pic circe 1987! wawww a botanic lady :) a very informative page, salute!

  • belgianchocolate's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2005 at 8:46 PM

    it makes sence...if the zebu is more of symbolic use then it is for meat or milk (what milk) - but they work like horses if they are put in front of a coach. ;-)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    May 14, 2005 at 11:13 AM


  • kymbanm's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2005 at 11:54 AM

    Beautiful! I can't wait to visit myself ... one day .... when I win the lottery and can afford to do EVERYTHING!!!!! I'm so glad you are sharing this with us all ....

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2005 at 3:30 PM

    Lovely page, I was looking forward to seeing how you were a guest of the King, but I guess I'll have to wait! In England, you can say someone is a guest of the Queen when they are in prison - I hope this isn't what you meant!!! ;-)

  • cadzand's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2005 at 9:10 AM

    You seem almost a bird flying above Blue Hill, from the ricefields patchwork over the King's kingdom. Be aware to the royal bath though :))

  • irisbe's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2005 at 5:10 AM

    I already loved those pics!!! and also the comments you had already added! :) I don't dare to ask how many pics you took on your holiday `-)


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