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Madagascar News Forums The Transformation of Antananarivo Reply To: The Transformation of Antananarivo


On his last trip to Tsinjoarivo in 1890, Ranavalona III demanded in his Kabary of the people that he maintain the Rova; That whenever he enters it, he must make his contribution in the beautification and improvement of the enclosure. The order is accompanied by a threat of beheading to anyone who does not respect it. As this severe warning
Coincides with the visit of the French resident general Le Myre de Vilers, some villagers take it badly. Especially since the memory of the first Franco-Merina war (1883-1885) is still alive in the minds and that the sanctions suffered are heavy to bear and are always felt.
That is why, as soon as the queen left to rejoin her capital, “nationalists” set fire to the Rova. As the huts constructed of fireproof materials are built almost side by side and the wind helping, they are completely destroyed.
“Created by royal caprice, Tsinjoarivo lost its prestige and was immediately abandoned to the monarchy that had disappeared in 1897.”
However, the French Governor General Joseph Simon Gallieni wished to preserve his former character in the royal enclosure and made it his duty to maintain the Rova, which had become the domain of the State with its surroundings. In particular, General Gallieni has rebuilt the huts by giving them a roof made of galvanized steel and whitewashed clay walls. The Rova became a History Museum in 1939. According to the current guardians of the Rova, General Gallieni ordered, from the reconstruction of the Rova, furniture on the model of the furniture of Manjakamiadana, the Queen’s Palace of Antananarivo. They would never have reached Tsinjoarivo even if the governor general likes, like queens, to spend a holiday there.
Much later, on November 11, 1979, the Royal Residence was struck down and all the houses were again ravaged by the flames. The reconstruction was carried out in 1983.
Today, the Royal Residency includes five pavilions, but their layout corresponds more or less to the original. To the left, entering via the large north-east door, there is the Camp Aid Pavilion, the Trano fahasivy (9th house) or the Queen’s Pavilion. It is the largest and only building with several rooms, the royal bedroom, the ballroom and the maids’ bedroom. The third is called the Queen’s Dining Room, the fourth at the back of the courtyard is the Rainitsimbazafy Pavilion, which General Gallieni named Prime Minister at the fall of the Merina Monarchy in 1897. To the right of the gate, Fifth pavilion is called the Residence of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony.

In the middle of the courtyard, the letters RM (Ranavalona Manjaka) and RGRI (Rova Governora Ranavalona I) are inscribed with bricks.
From 1989 onwards, the three royal pavilions formed a National Craft Museum where the techniques of wood and iron products are exposed. Among the objects on display is a block of iron from a mine in Tsinjoarivo. Formerly, the iron blocks were powdered before being sent to the Soatsimanampiovana factory (the good or the beautiful does not change) from Jean Laborde to Mantasoa who transforms them into finished products: rifles, working tools , Axes or cutters for decapitation, kitchen utensils, utility items, etc. The Pavilion of Rainitsimbazafy presents the seven last rulers who succeeded one another in Imerina. And the Pavilion of Rainilaiarivony becomes the room of the guardians of Rova.
Ranavalona II (1868-1883) and Ranavalona III (1883-1897), apart from Queen Rasoherina (1863-1868), who moves little for health reasons, like to stay in Tsinjoarivo. Especially Ranavalona II who, often suffering, appreciates the rest she enjoys in this wild setting.
All the rituals of their stays organized under the first Queen are respected by the two following. When one of the sovereigns comes to Tsinjoarivo with his suite, the trip lasts three and a half days. She leaves Antananarivo simply, unceremoniously, followed by her whole court and a joyous and loud procession of officers, soldiers, guards and innumerable porters. The first stage is in Andramasina, the second in Antanamalaza, the last one in Antananarivokely, about 14 km from Tsinjoarivo. As its name suggests, this last place is the miniature version of the capital with districts called Ampamarinana, Soanierana, Isotry, etc. On the fourth day, she lunch at Tsinjoarivo.
A “Tsimandoa” (royal messenger) precedes the queen to announce her arrival to the villagers of each stage, so that they can prepare to welcome her according to the honors due to her rank. Thus the arrival of the messenger at Tsinjoarivo is the signal of the great popular gathering at Antoby, at the entrance of the village at the bottom of the hill. When the royal procession is near, all join the hill of Nandihizana. There, they wait for the queen to pass to welcome her by ovations, even dances as the name of the hill suggests. From Nandihizana, they move to the neighboring hill of Mahatsinjo to see the royal procession ascend to the Rova and the queen enter the royal enclosure. The same ritual was organized at the departure of the Queen, but in the opposite direction.