Madagascar’s vibrant capital – Antananarivo – perches on a hillside like a city lost in time. Its charm lies in its contrasting moods, best experienced by exploring the rambling streets and alleyways. Antananarivo’s preserved architecture is an amazingly diverse mix influenced by tradition, missionary fervour and a brief colonial past.
ANTANANARIVO’S MARKET PLACES OR ‘ZOMAS’
There are several markets – zomas – in Tana, including the Flower Market at the north western edge of Lake Anosy. The best time to visit is early on Sunday morning. The Handicraft Markets (which are closed on Sundays) offer artisan items including wood carving, minerals, leatherwork, embroidery and hand-made baskets. The Food Market next to the railway station has hundreds of tiny stalls displaying a whole host of local and foreign fruits and vegetables. Please be aware that pick-pockets operate in the markets!
THE MALAGASY CULTURE
Madagascar’s population is estimated at 20 million inhabitants (2009). Famous for their hospitality and friendliness, Malagasy people put a high value on the land and the traditions handed down by their ancestors. There are 18 main tribes speaking different dialects which have the official Malagasy language (Merina Language) as their root. Their culture is primarily based on having a great respect for the elders, the ancestors, the family and religion