Victoria – The Capital City of Seychelles
Victoria, the tiny capital city, is the ideal place to experience Seychellois daily life and Creole culture. Victoria, one of the world’s smallest capitals and home to one-third of the country’s population, should not be overlooked. Take a day or two off your itinerary to explore the town’s old colonial buildings, which include a replica of London’s clock tower, sample Creole cuisine, or have a lively experience at Sir Selwyn Clarke Market.
Other notable attractions in the city include the popular Seychelles National Botanical Gardens, a small Hindu temple called Arulmigu Navasakti Vinayagar Temple, and the Museum of Natural History.
Victoria, Seychelles’ capital city, was originally a seat of the British colonial government. This city is also known as Africa’s smallest capital. The lovely town has an old section with narrow streets and colonial architecture. The newer part of Victoria, on the other hand, has tropical gardens and wider streets. You can easily cover this city in a day if you enjoy walking. If you want to get a sense of its undeniable charm, go to the local craft market and art galleries. Victoria, as the nation’s capital, serves as the country’s cultural and commercial center.
1. Brief History of the World’s Tiniest Capital
By the time Vasco da Gama discovered the archipelago in 1502, Arabs and Chinese had already sailed Seychelles. The French arrived and began establishing colonies in 1772. By 1810, the island had been taken over by the British, who renamed the Mahe outpost Victoria after Queen Victoria. Following the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the British established the town.
This allowed the economy to shift away from plantations and toward tourism. When Seychelles gained independence in 1976, Victoria was designated as the country’s capital. France Albert Rene provided free healthcare and education to the people. The international airport, which was funded by the British, opened in 1971.
2. A Tour of Victoria
It may surprise you to learn that the town has only two street lights. Parking garages will be difficult to come by. There is now a small market where you can buy fruits, fish, and vegetables. There is a bank, a few shops, a few restaurants, and some administrative offices. At the city’s eastern edge, there is a harbor and the ocean, where you can visit the Sainte Anne Marine National Park. The city’s urban area is a good place to visit. There are numerous places to visit, including a Botanical Garden, a museum, an international airport, a university, tourism agency offices, shops, and a movie theater.
In Victoria, there are two major cities. There is a clock tower that is a replica of the London clock tower. This is the location of the city’s first center. There is a post office, a bank, and the Palace of Justice in this area. The Sir Selwyn Clarke Market is at the center of the city’s second ring. It is only a five-minute walk from the clock tower. If you are here on a Saturday morning, that is the best time to visit.
The city is exquisitely designed and painted, with vibrant facades, balustrades, and shutters. Walking through the city will undoubtedly perfume your mind and soul with the aroma of aromatic spices. The city is busier in the mornings at 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. because this is when people go shopping.
However, this does not last long because, after 5:00 p.m., these shops close for the evening. So, instead, head to the harbor or enjoy an exotic cocktail at a city bar. For some fun, you can even go to a club and enjoy the nightlife.
16 Top Things To Do in Victoria
This city, also known as Port Victoria, has a lot to offer the Globetrotters who come from all over the world. During the Indian Ocean Earthquake, the tsunami waves demolished one of the largest bridges of the city. Let’s take a look at the most popular things to do in the city.
1. The Clock Tower
The clock tower is a replica of the Clock Tower in London and is the island nation’s oldest historic and most popular structure. Ernest Sweet Escott came up with the original concept. It was dedicated on April 1, 1903, as a memorial to Queen Victoria. Several Madras workers worked tirelessly to complete the erection in 9 days.
2. The Victoria Botanical Garden
The Mont Fleuri Botanical Garden, also known as the Mont Fleuri Botanical Garden, was founded in 1901. Mr. Paul Evenor Rivalz Dupont, the director of the agriculture service, discovered this garden. The Ministry of Environment is currently in charge of this garden. There are over 500 indigenous and exotic plant species. There are also fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, mammals, and caves in the botanical garden.
3. The Sir Selwyn Clarke Market
A visit to Victoria would be incomplete without a visit to the covered market. It’s small by African standards, but it’s a lively, colorful place. Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, stalls sell souvenirs like local spices and herbs, as well as the usual array of pareos (sarongs) and shirts. The best time to visit is early in the morning when fishmongers display an amazing variety of seafood, ranging from parrotfish to barracuda. Saturday is the busiest day and you can get some fantastic deals.
Here are a few items you should consider purchasing at Sir Selwyn Clarke Market for your home:
- Coconut liqueurs
- Coconut souvenirs
- Coconut souvenirs
- Local spices
- Local music albums
- Coco de Mer (with a special certificate)
- Bamboo and palm leaf souvenirs
- Handmade straw hats
4. The Sri Navasakthi Vinyagar Temple
In Victoria, there is a Hindu temple that is well-known for its eye-catching and colorful decoration. In the city, there is a small Indian community that worships there. The only Hindu temple in Seychelles, Sri Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple, was established in 1992. This one-of-a-kind structure in Victoria is named after Lord Vinayagar, the Hindu god of protection and prosperity.
With a five-story tower, the temple towers majestically at sixteen meters. The temple was consecrated by 18 Hindu priests who had been flown in from India specifically for the event.
5. The Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Mosque
The Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa mosque in Victoria, with its gleaming gold dome, serves the Islamic community. It’s a pleasant place to visit because it’s tucked away from the main city. The mosque currently has a capacity of 600 male and female worshippers, with Friday prayers being the busiest.
6. The Natural History Museum
This museum, a must-see in the city, is a fascinating place, especially for those who enjoy exploring nature. When you visit the Natural History Museum you will learn a lot about the island, including its flora, fauna, and geology.
7. The Kenwyn House
Kenwyn House, located next to the Cable & Wireless building, has been renovated to maintain its original style and is unquestionably one of the most beautiful buildings displaying French colonial architecture. Inside, there is an exclusive souvenir shop where you can purchase valuable items such as South African jewelry, and the house’s art gallery hosts Seychellois painting exhibitions.
8. The Bicentennial Monument
Do you enjoy reading and want to learn about Seychelles’ history, culture, and geography? Directions: Francis Rachel Street/4th June Avenue The modern library is a stunning structure. Since 1995, the AC library has been open to the public. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. There is no admission fee.
9. Bel Air Cemetery
On Bel Air Road, there is a cemetery with crumbling tombs and sarcophagi where citizens from Victoria’s early days were laid to rest. Among them was a legendary figure known as the ‘Giant of Bel Air.’ At only 16 years old, he was nearly 3 metres (10 feet) tall, could carry large fishing boats alone, and lift bags of rice with just one finger. His grave is in the cemetery’s central, elevated area, and the Bel Air cemetery as a whole is a Seychelles national monument.
10. The State House
Around 200 m (656 ft) west of the Clock Tower is an entrance gate that leads to a lush, landscaped garden and statehouse built-in 1913. Formerly the residence of British governors, the building has served as the President’s home and working space since the 1970s, so it is generally only visible from a distance.
However, it is sometimes worthwhile to seek the assistance of one of the city’s travel agencies in order to get a little closer, as the glorious idyll that can be found on-site is uniquely beautiful. Over the years, all government guests have given various gifts, including flowers, shrubs, and trees, and all of these have been given a place here and are carefully maintained.
11. CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The Mother Church of the Catholic Diocese of Seychelles is this majestic Cathedral. The Cathedral is one of the first churches in Seychelles, having been established on the location where Father Leon of Avanchers built the first vault dedicated to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception in March 1851.
Over the years, the Cathedral has undergone several restorations. Except for the outside walls, it was fully restored in 1993-94. Egbert Marday, a Seychellois sculptor, fashioned the tabernacle and the carved doors during the latest remodeling in 1995.
12. The Cathedral of St. Paul
This church is located on Revolution Avenue, opposite the Clock Tower, and is the oldest and largest Anglican church in Seychelles, as well as the archipelago’s second landmark. Consecrated in 1859 by the first Anglican Bishop of Mauritius, and renovated in the early twenty-first century, the church now seats 800 people, more than twice as many as before. The Seychelles and Mauritius have had their own diocese since 1920, with St. Paul serving as the second bishop’s see.
13. National Library Structure
A large library is housed in a modern steel/glass structure on the corner of Francis Rachel Street and 4th June Avenue. Anyone who wants to learn about the history, geography, culture, or literature of Seychelles in air-conditioned comfort should stop by here. The archive has been open to the public since 1995, and admission is free.
14. Fiennes Esplanade
This shady promenade was named after a former British administrator who did much for Seychelles and was the grandfather of the polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and the great, great, grandfather of the actor Ralph Fiennes who was in the film The English Patient, Harry Potter, Schindler’s List, The King’s Man and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
15. Albert Street
This was built on what was marshland and mangrove when the first settlers arrived; Barclays Bank and everything on the east side of this street are built on what was marshland and mangrove when the first settlers arrived. By 1909, Indian and Chinese settlers owned the majority of town properties, many of which still have first-floor verandahs. Go up the shopping mall stairs at the traffic lights for a great view of the street.
16. Liberty Monument
Tom Bowers, a Seychellois artist, created this bronze sculpture. It commemorates national unity following independence from colonial British power in 1976, as well as the earlier emancipation of slaves. Slavery and the slave trade were abolished under British law in 1807 and 1833, respectively. Seychelles had a population of 7500 people in 1834, with 6521 slaves. Slavery did not end immediately, despite the law, and the last recorded slave in Seychelles died in the 1950s.
These 6 buildings transformed the face of Seychelles’ capital, Victoria
As of 2016, the Quadrant building on Huteau Lane is owned by local company Hunt Deltel and serves as its headquarters. The Quadrant is home to the Department of Transport and Road Transport Commission, Air Seychelles, and several businesses, including Jouel, a South African jewelry store.
The fourth floor is occupied by luxury apartments, and all guests and tenants have access to underground parking – a luxury in and of itself, as parking in the capital city is a real issue.
Kanna Mall Building
The Pillay R Group, whose chairman is Ramu Pillay, owns the Kanna Mall. The mall, which opened in September 2017, is located on Albert Street, directly across from the ex-Seychelles Trading Company (STC) supermarket.
The shopping complex, which includes 20 stores, took about three years to complete. According to the mall’s owners, the fourth mall in Victoria, the building will provide more opportunities for people to do business.
Capital City Building
Capital City is a privately owned building in the heart of Victoria, on Independence Avenue, just steps away from the capital city’s main landmark, the clock tower. Offices and shops are currently housed on the ground plus two levels of the building.
The ground floor of the building houses Absa premier and business banking branches, as well as shops, a money exchanger, and the cable television provider Intelvision. The other floors of Capital City are occupied by offices such as a lawyer chamber, an offshore service provider, Qatar Airways, and the Sri Lankan embassy.
Independent House Building
The Independence House Annex building opened in June 2016 to commemorate Seychelles’ 40th anniversary of independence and the beginning of a new era for private and public partnerships in Seychelles.
Green Island Construction Company (GICC) began construction on the annex block in November 2014, and under the PPP arrangement, the government provided the land while Green Tree Investment raised financing for the building. The multi-story annex block completes this hub by housing government ministries and departments as well as other investment-related services.
In May 2017, the new Nouvobanq Bank building adjacent to the Stad Popiler car park was officially opened. Since the bank’s inception in 1991, the building has been regarded as a watershed moment.
Nouvobanq is the only Seychellois bank with its own structure. Nouvobanq, which has international experience, is officially known as the Seychelles Merchantile.
Maison Esplanade Building
Laxion Holdings Seychelles owns the building, which was built by Laxambhai & Company. The new structure is described as adding value to the capital city. It is a commercial center that houses the Bahrain-based Al Salam Bank Seychelles, the newly established Japanese embassy, and the Indian High Commission, as well as other offices such as the local insurance company SACOS.
FAQ – Victoria Seychelles
Victoria is from what country?
Victoria is the capital of the Republic of Seychelles and is located on the northeastern coast of Mahé Island, the largest of the Seychelles group of islands.
What makes Victoria Seychelles famous?
The Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market, also known as the Victoria Market, is located in the capital of Seychelles, Victoria. The market’s vibrancy distinguishes it as the true heart of the capital, displaying a harmonious blend of the old and new Seychellois way of life.
How was Victoria in Seychelles discovered?
The first recorded landing was made by the crew of the English East India Company ship Ascension, which arrived in Seychelles in January 1609. In 1756, France claimed the islands. Seychelles remained uninhabited until the first settlers arrived on board the ship Thélemaque on August 27, 1770.
Why is Seychelles’ capital called Victoria?
The British named the town Victoria after Queen Victoria in 1841. Seychelles gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, and Victoria became the country’s capital. The Port of Victoria was built in 1975 to help accommodate larger ships and increase ship turnaround.