The village of Tsinjoarivo, on the edge of the eastern forest, is located 47 km east of Ambatolampy, a locality on the National Road 7, 67 km from Antananarivo. According to historians, Ranavalona I travels much and loves to furrow his kingdom. Thus, during his reign (1828-1861), informed by Ramanjaka who shares with Andrianaivoravelona the stronghold of Andrangalisa, the present Vohitrarivo, she learns the existence of a verdant and restful region. Interested, the sovereign moves in person to see this enchanting site. According to the oral tradition, the lords would have given way to him by settling not far from there, in Manjaka in particular.
But finally, the queen decides to settle a little to the west to avoid crossing the River Onive every time she comes to the resort. His choice is first
The present hill of Mahatsinjo. But to benefit from the natural protection of the Onive, it finally opts for a hill further south, Sarodravina. As the name suggests, the small hill is covered with a primary forest. It will be immediately renamed Tsinjon’Iarivo (perceiving or perceiving of Antananarivo or of Vohitrarivo, the hill of 1 000), then becomes Tsinjoarivo by simplification.
It is Jean Laborde who builds the Rova (Royal enclosure) of Tsinjoarivo as a holiday resort of Ranavalona I. Construction began in 1834 and ended two years later. Previously, the site must be backfilled. The terrace is 5 m high and measures 52m x 35m. The transport of the land from the Besakana district (about 200 m away) is done in “tohi-vakana”: “The women stood in file like the pearls of a necklace and took the baskets full of earth. This had the advantage of being faster and less tiring. At the same time, the men were responsible for transporting the stones that would protect the embankment. “
According to Berthe and Jean Ralijaona, chroniclers, Jean Laborde is helped by the artisans of the Hill to the Thirty Men. Two large gates, the line of which recalls that of Ambohimanga, give access to the Rova.
One to the northeast is the main gate. It is here that ends the great alley of pines by which the sovereign arrives of Antananarivo. The northeast corner or “zoro firarazana” is sacred to the Malagasy in general, the Merina in particular. It is there that they invoke Zanahary (Creator) and the Ancestors to ask them for everything they need (spouses, especially male offspring, health, wealth …) or implore their forgiveness for having transgressed a taboo. The other gate opens to the south-west. It is near this one that rests the body of the personal diviner of the queen, Rainisoabelomanga in whom it places all its confidence.
The Rova consists of five boxes. Originally, their roofs are made with wooden tiles and wooden walls also. On entering the enclosure, on the left and on each side of the north-east gate, two small twin boxes are intended for princes and princesses. Farther to the left are two larger squares, one of which is the royal reception room, the other the Queen’s pavilion. Finally at the back of the courtyard and isolated, a last little house receives the Prime Minister, first Raharo then his brother and successor Rainilaiarivony.
Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony also has a pavilion outside the royal enclosure where his son Radriaka resides, 15 honors (rank of general). She is also the husband of Victoire Rasoamanarivo, the first of all Malagasy Catholics to be
beatified. This is done under the pontificate of John Paul II. This is where the Prime Minister receives his guests. The French resident general Le Myre de Vilers came to confer with Ranavalona III in 1890. The Frenchman is greeted by a convoy of porters led by Marc Rabibisoa, a great intellectual and interpreter in French of the Court.
Similarly, the princes and officers of the palace owned farms around the Rova. Thus two of the large islets formed by the arms of the Onive near the Ambavaloza fall bear the name of Nosin-d Ramahatra (island of Ramahatra, nephew of Queen Ranavalona II) and Nosin-dRamonja (island of Ramonja). There is also to the east, below the Rova, a prison and a residence of the officers of the Palace later became a school. As it is a simple royal holiday residence and these have nothing of the official and pompous character of traveling to Ambohimanga (one of the cradles of the merina dynasty), the respect of certain labels is not required. Thus, it is not necessary to pass the great entrance gate of the Rova of the right foot as in Antananarivo and Ambohimanga. Similarly, they do not plant “amontana” and “aviavy”, royal trees. As soon as you enter the enclosure, only two centenary pines welcome you. They would be the same age as the original Rova. Moreover, no taboo exists in the enclosure and all around it. Except between the two falls of the Onive.