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#446
Madagascar
Keymaster

When the French general government settled in Antananarivo, it began work on the most urgent tasks, especially the access of modern vehicles to the Rova. Through the most populous quarters of the city, only served by a labyrinth of steep alleys, gutted in the rainy season, cut by slippery stairs. Using as much as possible the old tracks, wider tracks are pierced, with slopes better equipped and equipped with gutters of stone. The street descending from the crossroads of Ambohijatovo towards Antaninarenina, is opened in 1898.
On the rump of Faravohitra, Avenue La Bourdonnais, which had become Rue George V and built in 1896, was doubled by Rue Gallieni at the end of 1904. For this one, it was necessary to blow up the rock with blows of mines on several hundreds Of meters. Gently sloping for about two kilometers from the crossroads of Soarano, next to the future railway station, it becomes the most convenient access road to Upper Town.
This one sees its face decorated and rejuvenated by gardens created in well chosen points. “Andohalo, the solemn Kabary theater of Malagasy royalty, bare, dusty or muddy, becomes the charming Place Jean Laborde” (anonymous columnist of the 1950s). The trees grow there quickly around the kiosk where, as early as 1897, French military music is heard.
Meanwhile, attempts are being made to impose habits of order and cleanliness on the inhabitants. Small markets are demarcated and no longer encumber public roads. In 1913, the streets were paved, signs were ordered. “However, not all neighborhoods have drinking water or incandescent lamps. Domestic debris too often smeared the approaches to houses where pigs swarmed. “
On the rock, few land is available for construction, but many official services are installed first: the town hall, the general secretariat, the offices, the Circle of Europeans or the Union soon replaced by the buildings Of the Lycée Gallieni … So the city, in search of space, must descend from its rock. It extends mainly to the northeast. It is here that flat land is available, which lends itself to the works of urban planning, and from which it is possible to reach the oldest quarters by the steepest slopes. This is where the road leads from the Rova to the sacred city of Ambohimanga and also to Mahajanga. It is here that the great market of the Zoma is held and that the first commercial houses of Europe settled before the conquest.
Later, the choice made of the location of the station exerts a more powerful appeal. Some are advocates of the western shores of Anosy Lake, downstream and south of Isoraka. Land is the object of the usual speculation. Finally, one decides for the valley of Analakely which widens gradually towards the northwest, between the hills of Ambondrona-Antanimena and Isoraka-Isotry.
The south-eastern slopes of Isoraka are set up as a park annexed to the residence of the General Government at Ambohitsorohitra in 1901. It is connected by the avenue de France to Place Colbert (now Place de l’Independance) Slope that dominates Analakely and driving back the great Zoma in the bottom of the valley. Market that gives way to shops and offices down from the old town. This district of Antaninarenina (with the level ground) becomes then the center of the administrative and business life. Hotels and restaurants come down from old Tana. Shops and warehouses are built there.
The valley of Analakely, formerly covered with rice fields and sometimes submerged with water, grew less quickly. For a long time the streets cross only vague grounds between the market and the location of the station installed at the expense of the shaved promontory of Antanimena and open to exploitation on November 21, 1910.
It is then that the blocks of the Analakely low-neighborhood begin to fill. In 1915, avenue Fallières (avenue de l’Independance) has its massifs of greenery, but is not yet built, similarly the avenue of Reunion (avenue Andrianampoinimerina) which extends the road of Mahajanga.