Antananarivo (Tana) is the capital city of Madagascar and the largest city on this big island in the Indian Ocean. The city is situated inland, about 90 miles from the East coast. Antananarivo was founded in the early 1600's and its position on top of a high ridge made it easy to defend against enemy attack. Antananarivo means "the city of a thousand", a reference to the 1000 soldiers that supposedly protected the newly founded city during the reign of the revered King Andrianjaka. In 1895, the French took over and expanded it greatly to include many new buildings and roads. Madagascar gained its independence from the French in 1960. Today, Antananarivo has a population of about 1.4 million people.
Claim to Fame
Tana will surprise you with its rice paddies, pollution, Asian looks, numerous stairs up steep hills, palaces, cobbled streets and churches. This is not Africa or Asia, Madagascar is totally unique.
Travel to Antananarivo
Most people traveling to Madagascar will arrive in the capital since the international airport is situated there. Antananarivo is a bustling place with lots of churches, a mosque, a zoo and plenty of markets called Zomas. The capital is basically built on 12 hills and steep steps lead to the main Independence square in the town center. The architecture is a mixture of old wooden houses, modern offices and French colonial style buildings. The best way to see Tana is to walk around and take taxis. Many visitors take a taxi up to the Rova in the Upper Town and walk around from there. The Tsimbazaza Botanical and Zoological Park houses some of Madagascar's unique flora and fauna including lemurs. Tana is somewhat typical of many cities in a developing country: lots of poverty, pollution, and crumbling infrastructure interspersed with modern cafes, restaurants and shops selling western goods.
Antananarivo Travel Resources
Local Tana Resident's Travel Guide - on Virtual Tourist.
Antananrivo Travel Guide - from Travel Africa Magazine.
Antananarivo Travel Blogs - find out what travelers are saying about Tana right now.
Antananarivo Hotel Reviews - from Tripadvisor.