Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
View photos from OUR PLACE the World Heritage collection

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2001
Size of heritage: 59 ha
- Buffer zone: 425 ha

Longitude: 47,563°
Latitude: -17,241°


The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga consists of a royal city and burial site, and an ensemble of sacred places. It is associated with strong feelings of national identity, and has maintained its spiritual and sacred character both in ritual practice and the popular imagination for the past 500 years. It remains a place of worship to which pilgrims come from Madagascar and elsewhere.

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The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, located in the Municipality of Ambohimanga Rova, Province of Antananarivo, Madagascar, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that holds immense historical and cultural significance. This sacred hill, also known as the "Blue Hill," has been a symbol of the Merina Kingdom and is considered one of the most important sites in Madagascar.


The history of the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga dates back to the 15th century when King Andrianampoinimerina, the founder of the Merina Kingdom, established his capital here. The hill served as a stronghold and a spiritual center for the Merina people, who believed it to be a sacred place. Over the centuries, the hill witnessed the rise and fall of several Merina kings, who contributed to the development and expansion of the kingdom. The hill's strategic location, surrounded by steep cliffs and dense forests, made it an ideal defensive site. The Merina people built a series of fortified walls, gateways, and royal palaces on the hill, showcasing their architectural prowess. The structures were constructed using traditional materials such as wood, stone, and thatch, reflecting the unique Malagasy architectural style.

Current State

Today, the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga stands as a testament to Madagascar's rich cultural heritage. The site has been meticulously preserved and restored, allowing visitors to experience the grandeur of the Merina Kingdom. The hill is divided into three main areas: the Rova (royal palace complex), the sacred area, and the village. The Rova, located at the highest point of the hill, consists of several royal buildings, including the Queen's Palace, the King's Palace, and the Audience Palace. These structures, adorned with intricate carvings and traditional decorations, provide a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Merina royalty. The Rova also houses a museum that displays artifacts, royal regalia, and historical documents, offering visitors a deeper understanding of the site's significance. The sacred area, known as the "Andriana," is a place of worship and pilgrimage for the Merina people. It contains several sacred sites, including the tomb of King Andrianampoinimerina, which is considered the most sacred spot on the hill. The Andriana is still actively used for religious ceremonies and rituals, attracting devotees from all over Madagascar. The village surrounding the hill is home to the local community, who have preserved their traditional way of life. Visitors can explore the village, interact with the locals, and learn about their customs, crafts, and agricultural practices. The village also offers traditional Malagasy cuisine, allowing visitors to savor the local flavors. In conclusion, the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga is a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the historical and cultural significance of the Merina Kingdom in Madagascar. With its well-preserved royal palaces, sacred sites, and vibrant village, the site offers a unique opportunity to delve into the rich heritage of the Malagasy people. A visit to this extraordinary hill is a journey back in time, immersing visitors in the grandeur and spirituality of Madagascar's past.