Friday, May 6, 2016

Ambositra


            Ambositra is a town in the central highlands of Madagascar located on the RN7, the main thoroughfare when going from Tana to anywhere in the south.  Although it is a fairly big Highland town, it is one that many travelers and tourist simply pass through on their way north or south.  This being said it is a welcome stop for those who want to purchase any wooden souvenirs or see one of the historic Rovas (royal palace).  Ambositra is known as the center of the wood carving industry in Madagascar and one will find streets lined with shops selling wooden figurines, ornately carved furniture, games, and such.  With the trade in wood products comes the occasional trade in rosewood,
an endemic and endangered tree in Madagascar.  There is a fairly big trade in splendidly made silk scarves here as well.
            The day after I arrived being Easter, meant that many of the shops were closed for the day.  This being the case I took the chance to make explore the town.  The next day we made the hike out to the historic Rova.  The hike from town to the Rova was about 1.5 hours, winding through the rice paddies up hill all the way.  The Rova itself, like all the others in Madagascar, was placed on the top of the highest hill adjacent to the town, giving the king an amazing view of the town and surrounding area.  It also meant that his subjects would have to make the long hike up the hill to talk to him; which was probably part of the reason for placing it there.  The Rova was a small fortified complex made up of two buildings, two tombs, a large stone where the king would make his speeches, and the fortifications.  Later that evening we walked out to the Benedictine convent, in the north of town, where we had heard from other Volunteers they made the best cheese in Madagascar.  This may have been the case, but on our arrival they only had the huge wheels of cheese and I was unwilling to buy that much cheese so I will never know. 
        


Rova




Benedictine convent



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