Thursday, October 08, 2015

On Antananarivo: It is certainly a very picturesquely situated town #QotD

2015.10.03-DSC03798It is certainly a very picturesquely situated town; the rocky ridge, on the summit and slopes of which the houses are built, rises at its highest point, near the centre, to from 500 to 600 feet above the surrounding valleys and the western plain, and its length, north and south, is not far short of two miles. At the southern extremity it slopes down abruptly to the valley, but at the northern end the descent is more gradual. At about two-thirds of its length from the south, a large branch or spur of the hill separates from the main ridge and curves round to the north-west with a tolerably easy gradient; so that the actual extent of the city is not realised from the eastern side, and one must ride round to the west to see how large a place it really is. The ridge, though long, is narrow, so that there is little level ground on the summit; and the majority of the houses are built on terraces, cut away on one side and built up with retaining walls on the other. At the junction of the two northern branches of the hill there is a large triangular open space called Andohalo, where a market is held, and where great public assemblies are convened, as at the promulgation of any new law, or the reception of the sovereign on her return to the capital, &c. (pp.35-36)

From Madagascar before the conquest: the island, the country, and the people, with chapters on travel and topography, folk-lore, strange customs and superstitions, the animal life of the island, and mission work and progress among the inhabitants by James Sibree

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