Must see attractions in Antananarivo

  • Top ChoiceSights in Antananarivo

    Musée de la Photo

    Opened in early 2018, this fabulous photography museum is Antananarivo's best museum. There are four small rooms showing films (in French, English or Malagasy) that offer a fascinating window on Madagascar's past using archival photos – subject matter includes the history of Madasgacar's seven largest cities, important Malagasy identities from the 19th and 20th centuries, a look at the work of an early Malagasy photo studio, Saklava burial traditions, child rituals and other themes.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Antananarivo

    Rova

    Tana’s rova (fortified palace), known as Manjakamiadana (A Fine Place to Rule), is the imposing structure that crowns the city's highest hill. Gutted in a fire in 1995, it remains under endless restoration but the compound can be visited. The palace was designed for Queen Ranavalona I by Scottish missionary James Cameron. The outer stone structure was added in 1867 for Queen Ranavalona II, although the roof and interior remained wooden, much to everyone's regret in 1995…

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Analakely Market

    Antananarivo's main market is a shadow of the former zoma (market), for which the capital was legendary, but you'd only realise this if you came back in its glory days. It’s still a packed, teeming place, selling clothes, household items, dodgy DVDs and every food product you could imagine, plus a few you probably couldn’t. Don't bring any valuables with you.

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Gare Soarano

    Tana’s old train station doesn’t see much passenger traffic these days, so the lovely building has been converted into a small, upmarket shopping centre. There are regular art shows of works by Malagasy artists, as well as chi-chi boutiques and a couple of more prosaic shops (airlines, telecoms etc).

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Lac Anosy

    Antananarivo’s heart-shaped lake lies in the southern part of town. It's particularly lovely in October, when the jacaranda trees lining its shores are covered in purple blossoms. On an island connected to the shore by a causeway stands a large golden angel on a plinth, the Monument aux Morts, a WWI memorial erected by the French. It is currently not advised to walk in this area so the best way to appreciate Anosy is from the viewpoints in the Haute-Ville.

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Micheline

    In 1929 French engineer André Michelin, of tyre fame, patented the use of pneumatics on rail vehicles in a bid to improve passenger comfort. Trials were hugely successful and ‘Micheline’ wagons were soon zooming up and down the world’s rail tracks.

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Musée Andafivaratra

    Housed in a magnificent pink baroque palace, this museum is the former home of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony, the power behind the throne of the three queens he married in succession (Rasoherina, Ranavalona II and Ranavalona III) between 1864 and 1895. The museum’s collection is a spare, dusty assortment of memorabilia from Merina (a tribal group) kings and queens, but the upper floors remain closed and labelling is poor.

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Presidential Palace

    This beautiful 19th-century manor was an official French residence for many years. It became the Malagasy presidential palace in 1975 and remained so until president Didier Ratsiraka decided to build a more modern complex about 15km south of the capital in 1991. The mansion remains an official residence but is generally quiet. No photos allowed.

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Parc de Tsarasaotra

    Lake Alarobia may be located at the heart of Antananarivo's industrial area, but it is a vital refuge and nesting site for 14 threatened endemic bird species such as the Madagascar pond heron, Meller's duck and Madagascar little grebe. The site is classified Ramsar (International Convention on Wetlands), a treaty that highlights the importance and fragility of wetlands and protects key sites. Unless you're a birder, the place will have only limited appeal.

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Musée d'Art et d'Archéologie

    This small, dusty museum in Isoraka gives an overview of archaeological digs around the island, including displays of grave decorations from the south (known as aloalo), rotating exhibits on Malagasy life (cooking, music etc), and a few talismans and objects used in traditional ceremonies. A tip for the guide (if there is one) is customary. There was a minor facelift happening in part of the building when we visited, so hopefully the experience will improve.

  • Sights in Antananarivo

    Monument aux Morts

    This WWI memorial, erected by the French, is a large golden angel on an island connected to the shore by a causeway. It is currently not advised to walk in this area so the best way to appreciate the memorial is from the viewpoints in the Haute-Ville.