Victoria ( Capital )

Victoria  -  the Capital of Seychelles

Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, dates back to 1756 when Captain Corneille Morphey landed on its shores to take formal possession of Mahé in the name of France. To mark the occasion he fixed the traditional Stone of Possession to a rock facing the anchorage.

Victoria can be counted among one of the tiniest capitals in the world and can be easily walked in a few hours. Boasting a population of some 20,000, Victoria has a concentration of museums, monuments and buildings of historical interest. The Roman Catholic Cathedral is an impressive French colonial style building on the north side of the town. It is called the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and has a bell tower with the famous clock that chimes twice on the hour (just in case you didn’t hear it the first time). The newly rebuilt Anglican cathedral is an impressive building found on the corner of Albert Street and Revolution Avenue. The original cathedral of St Paul dates from 1859, but has now made way for this new state-of-the-art building which dominates Victoria’s centre, adjacent to the towns only set of traffic lights and only a few steps away from the famous clock tower, a replica of the one standing on Vauxhall Bridge Road that was erected by public subscription in 1903.

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The Seychelles Natural History Museum, a mere stone’s throw away on Independence Avenue, contains many hidden treasures: there is a collection of shells and dried insects, including some of the largest beetles in the world. There are also skulls of the now-extinct Seychelles crocodiles and a life-like model of the crocodile toothily greets each passer-by at the museums' entrance. Virtually opposite stands the legendary ‘Pirates Arms’, perhaps Victoria’s most famous bistro and watering-hole.

Not to be missed is the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market situated in Market Street, where the nomally languid pace of life takes on an almost busy air. This is where local farmers, fishermen and curio vendors ply their wares in a vibrant, colourful atmosphere, especially on Saturday mornings, an ideal time for a visit.
Leaving Victoria in a southerly direction, one passes along 5th Juin Avenue where, first one comes across a large white sculpture at the centre of a roundabout, its three wings representing Africa, Europe and Asia from where the Seychellois people originated. Further along one will find the Zonm Lib Statue commemorating the liberation of the Seychelles from colonialism. To one’s right is the National Library, home to the National Archives and the National Museum. Inside are reminders of the slave trade: rusting leg irons and braces with ball and chains together with rows of sepia photographs taken of African slaves who were liberated in Seychelles. Also on display are a collection of traditional musical instruments and an interesting history of the local gris gris, or black magic.
National House, the seat of Government situated at the corner of the road leading to Bel Air. Nearby, the Botanical Gardens at Mont Fleuri, established almost a century ago, now cover 6 hectares on the outskirts of Victoria. Guided tours are available and worthwhile and will include the land tortoise pen, the Coco-de-Mer tree, the elephant apple tree and the octopus tree (striking when in bloom with its large florescent flowers.)

A must-visit is the aviary and the freshwater pools with colourful water lilies and large-leaved taros.

Other treats for plant lovers are the sealing wax palms, ginger and heloconia spice plants and, of course, the orchid garden.
Victoria is Seychelles’ seat of government and centre of administration and commerce.