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Madagascar is a state located in the western part of the Indian Ocean. This country occupies the territory of the island of Madagascar and the small islands adjacent to the east coast of Africa.
The area of the state of Madagascar is 587 thousand square kilometers. Its population is equal to 18.4 million people (according to data for 2005). The capital of Madagascar is the city of Antananarivo. The form of government in Madagascar is a parliamentary republic.
The central part of Madagascar is represented by the Anjafi high plateau. It slopes gently to the west of the island, but drops abruptly to the lowlands of the east coast of Madagascar.
Malagasy and French are the official languages. The national currency of Madagascar is the Malagasy franc, as well as the Ariari. Eighteen tribes live in Madagascar. They all have their own traditions and customs.
Madagascar is one of the largest islands in the world. In terms of size, Madagascar ranks fourth in the world: its area is 590 thousand square kilometers. This island is located in the waters of the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of the African continent. In length, Madagascar stretches for 1600 kilometers; its width is more than 600 kilometers.
Madagascar is a typical tropical island. It is very difficult to assert this. The fact is that here the tourist will be pleased to contemplate the amazing beaches with white sand, coral reefs and the purest ocean water. And the mysterious untouched nature will amaze those who come here for the first time.
The climate in Madagascar is tropical. Average air temperatures in low-lying areas vary from + 20 ° to 30 °. The most suitable time for rest is considered to be the period from April to October, which corresponds to winter in the southern hemisphere. The explanation for this is the following: in this case, the tourist will have the opportunity to avoid the southern summer in the period from November to March. Among other things, this period is known as hurricane time. However, one should also take into account such specificity of the climate of Madagascar as its variation in different parts of the country. Summer in the central part can be great for relaxation. Summer on the east coast is often characterized by rainy weather.
Madagascar has a unique flora and fauna. The fauna and flora of Madagascar contains approximately 5% of all animal and plant species known to man and science. Habitat 80% of them are limited only to the island of Madagascar. Lemurs living on the island are known all over the world. And all this despite the fact that Madagascar is very close to the continent! Although, the island of Madagascar is very often referred to as nothing more than a "small continent" (or even "the smallest continent"). The rainforests of the island of Madagascar are literally teeming with different animals that live only here, and serve as a habitat for many plants that grow only here!
Madagascar - "The Great Red Island". So his name is sometimes called due to the predominance of red soils on the territory of the central highlands of Madagascar. Soils, even richer in minerals, are found in those territories of Madagascar where high volcanic activity was once observed. The east coast of Madagascar is characterized by a thin "belt" of alluvial soils. The western coast of the island is found in places with limestone and clay.
Madagascar is a country with a developing economy. In 2007, the GDP of this state amounted to more than 18 thousand million dollars (according to the IMF). The per capita income in Madagascar for the same year was more than a thousand dollars (according to the same data). The most important sectors of the economy in this state are agriculture, the cultivation of spices and herbs (which are mainly exported) and fishing. In addition to spices and herbs, vanilla, coffee, cocoa powder, rice, peanuts, bananas, legumes and sugar cane are exported. In the production of vanilla Madagascar is the leader in the whole world.
Tourism is the source of economic growth in Madagascar. Along with the export of agricultural products, light and textile industries, as well as minerals (coal, nickel, ilmenite). Often tourism is based precisely on the biological uniqueness of the island: after all, about 80% of the flora and fauna of Madagascar are endemic.
Madagascar has stunning natural attractions. Or even masterpieces. What is, for example, a unique natural complex in the area of Cape Sainte-Marie. The climate of this complex is characterized by strong winds. It is thanks to them that this territory "became famous". The fact is that these very winds "forced" the woody vegetation to form a kind of ground carpet. This unique carpet consists of millions of wood strands, which are horizontally arranged intricately intertwined tree trunks. And what beautiful lakes, rapids and waterfalls here!
Dead Lake is one of the wonders of Madagascar. It is located not far from Ancerabe. Its waters are enclosed between steep granite boulders. The depth reaches four hundred meters. An interesting fact is that the lake is not a habitat for any living creature. Oddly enough, but with the size of the island 50 meters by one hundred meters and the temperature of its water in the region of 15 degrees Celsius, no one has yet been able to overcome it by swimming (in any case, there are such rumors).
Madagascar is famous for its many waterfalls and rapids. The landscapes of these places are truly amazing! For example, the rapids Betsibuka river. It flows near the city of Maevatanana. Mist from the overthrow of its waters from narrow ramparts rises much higher than the tallest trees. And the waters have an unusual reddish color. Such a shade is given to the waters by suspended silt particles located in them. Waterfalls on the Mahavavi River, which is located near the city of Ambilube, are widely known. No less famous is a whole cascade of waterfalls in the area of Madagascar National Park - Montagne d'Ambre. To take a look at these beautiful creations of nature, it is not necessary to specially go to the hidden places of the island. You can admire them, for example, from the railway - so to speak, on the way. We are talking about waterfalls on the Mandrianampuzzi River, which you can get to know from the Fianarantsoa - Manacara railway. The highest waterfall in Madagascar is on the Sakaleuna River. The water falls here as much as two hundred meters! True, to admire this miracle of nature, you need to drive not far from the city of Nusivarika. But the trip is worth it!
There are many national parks and reserves in Madagascar. Holidays in Madagascar will not be complete if the visitor does not visit these places. For example, the Tsyngy de Bemaraha nature reserve. It can be noted from its history that for a long time tourists did not have access to it. For the time being. The situation changed after the reserve was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The reserve is located in the western part of Madagascar. It is a large forest with limestone mountains. Tsyngy de Bemaraha consists of 2 parks. Eight species of reptiles, six species of lemurs and fifty-three (!) Species of birds once settled in them. A tour of the reserve involves not only viewing the places of life of wild animals, but also an exciting canoe trip to the waterfall. (The Manambolo River flows through the reserve). But the national park of Madagascar, called Amber Mountain, will provide the tourist with amazing hiking opportunities. Those who come here will see a small waterfall, the waters of which plunge into a mountain pool, as well as a lake and a beautiful botanical garden. The latter is home to palms, vines and orchids.
Nosy baraxa - the island of women. Translated into Russian, the name itself will sound like this: Santa Maria. This is a very beautiful island. The length is only 57 kilometers. Nature is striking in its primordiality. And all its beauty has been open to tourists from all over the world for just a few years. But despite such a modest tourist history, this island is now rapidly gaining popularity. And still! After all, amazing white sand beaches combined with coconut palms stretch for 80 kilometers. And in the depths of the island there is an untouched rainforest with its own unique flora and fauna. But the fact of poor infrastructure development and a small number of cars on the island can attract a tourist who wants to take a break from the delights of civilization. Interestingly, even during the rainy season, very little rainfall falls on Santa Maria Island. A tourist may well live right on the ocean coast in a bungalow. Hotels and inns on the island of women must be booked in advance.
The Mazoala Peninsula is one of the most mesmerizing places in Madagascar. The forests of the peninsula alternate with clean sandy beaches and ocean bays. A tourist sitting on the coast has every opportunity to see sea turtles, whales, dolphins. All conditions have been created for diving enthusiasts, including nature: the coral reefs around the peninsula are unusual and very beautiful. Since 1997, a national park has been operating on the peninsula, with an area of 3 thousand square kilometers.
Madagascar speaks the same language as the African continent. This is not true. The Malagasy language has absolutely nothing to do with African languages. This language belongs to the Western Malay-Polynesian languages. The latter belong to the Austronesian family, which was established at the end of the eighteenth century. Thus, the Malagasy language is related to the languages of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, and is most similar to the languages of the island of Borneo - 90% of the basic vocabulary of the language in Madagascar coincides with the vocabulary of the south of Borneo. These data allow us to conclude that the settlement of the island of Madagascar was precisely by immigrants from the south of Borneo, the reasons for this phenomenon are not precisely determined. Writing in Madagascar appeared in the fifteenth century.
Antananarivo is the largest city in Madagascar. It is also called "the city of a thousand inhabitants". But this is not only one of the largest cities in Madagascar, which is also the capital of this state, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is also one of the most colorful. For example, many buildings in the capital city are a clear testament to the craftsmanship and skill of the woodcarvers and carpenters of Madagascar. Among these buildings, for example, the beautiful palace of Andrianampuinimerina and the house that was the property of Jean Laborde.It should be noted that the traditions and skill of wooden architecture have long been passed down from generation to generation. They continue to exist today. Adhering to them is very characteristic of the Zafimaniri tribe, which inhabited the forests of Ambusitra.
Antananarivo is "the city of ten thousand warriors". And so they call him the same. What else is interesting in a city with such an unusual name as Antananarivo? The capital of Madagascar nestles twelve sacred hills. The capital of Madagascar, of course, makes a pretty strong impression on a first-time visitor. Narrow streets are organically combined with the original architecture of this city. This city does not seem to have any particular architectural style - it presents a wonderful mixture of all these styles. The city, as if from a fairy tale, is all made up of small markets located right on the street. Not far from Independence Square, a tourist will find various royal buildings (of course, the former ones), as well as the ruins of Queen Rova's palace. Well, and very necessary information for a tourist: in almost any appropriate institution you can eat, on average, ten dollars.
Zuma is a typical phenomenon for Antananarivo. Well, first of all, this is nothing more than an ordinary fair. Or not quite ordinary, but the famous Madagascar fair. The fact is that on certain days (on Fridays), traders and artisans from Antananarivo and the environs of this city begin to gather on the central street of the capital.
Madagascar's cuisine is based on rice dishes. And, of course, with a side dish. The cuisine of this state is influenced by the culinary traditions of China, India, France. Several varieties of rice grow on the island, each of which is important for the country. Madagascar knows many ways to prepare different types of rice dishes. As a drink, they often use burnt rice drenched in boiling water, filtered and chilled (this is ranun'ampangu). In Madagascar, stewing amin'anan has become popular. It consists of rice, meat, and neatly chopped herbs. As for the side dishes, they are seasonal, i.e. depend on the season. Well, and also on the degree of availability of products for each individual family. Here are the most common side dishes in Madagascar: first, it is worth talking about the wuandjuburi side dish, which is a bambara nut stewed with pork; secondly, it is kituza - dried meat strips with spices; followed by a garnish of trundru gashi - it consists of white fish stewed with tomatoes and zucchini. Also widely used are the side dishes tsaramasu (boiled beans in tomato sauce) and rumazawa (fried beef with onions, ginger and tomatoes). And, of course, a wide variety of seafood serves the role of all kinds of side dishes. Condiments and spices are represented by onions, garlic, curry, ginger, and closer to the coast, vanilla, coconut milk and cloves are also used.
Madagascar is not used to spicy food. Unlike, say, African cuisine. Be that as it may, but in Madagascar in our time there are more and more quite spicy dishes. On the coast of the island, semi-finished sauces are made, which include widespread fruits such as lemon or mango.
Ranun'ampangu is the most popular drink in Madagascar. But besides him, the inhabitants of this state often drink tea and coffee. Rum and wine are also made here. But drinking milk - in its raw form - is not at all common here. Cheese and yoghurts are produced on its basis.
The dessert traditions of Madagascar come from the culinary traditions of the indigenous tribes. It is customary to regard even any fresh fruit sprinkled with sugar as a dessert. It can be a regular apple or a more exotic baobab fruit. Complex desserts include chocolate. This is due to the cultivation of excellent quality cocoa on the island.
The veneration of the dead in Madagascar is considered a major holiday. This ritual ceremony is called famadikhana, its essence lies in the fact that relics and remains are taken from the crypt and cleaned. After that, they are put on public display and touched. After the ceremony, the remains and relics are wrapped in a new shroud and transferred to a new place in the tomb. The whole rite is associated with fun dances.
Circumcision is the most important event in the life of every boy. Moreover, it is a multi-day holiday. Only after the completion of the ceremony does the boy have the right to be called a man. Many people gather in honor of this rather noisy holiday: families, friends (even from neighboring villages), children. The feast is decorated with meat dishes with herbs. The custom does not allow to come to the holiday in red clothes.
Wood carving is widespread in Madagascar. This is a traditional art craft in this state. Interestingly, he often has erotic motives.The art of wood carving has been perfected by craftsmen over a long period of time during the manufacture of funerary pillars. The latter were most likely worn as festive rather than mourning symbols. The most skillful incisors are the Zafimaniri forest people. Its representatives make unique and amazingly beautiful carved furniture.
Street theft is common in Madagascar. This is too harsh. The fact is that tourists, of course, can also become objects of surveillance by thieves. But everything is relative. And in Madagascar, it can be argued with confidence that the number of related crimes is significantly less than in other tourist countries. It is much quieter here at night. And those who came to rest can be advised to follow the elementary rules: not to believe everyone you meet, not to carry a camera in the back and a wallet in your back pocket, and generally not to carry large amounts of money, etc. But once again it is worth noting that street attacks in Madagascar are rare.
"This is Ranavaluna" - such a statement can be heard quite often in Madagascar. And we are talking about a strong-willed woman. It is the strong-willed character of the female representative that can be emphasized with this statement. After all, this is the queen. Looking back in history, one can recall that Ranavaluna I was able to withstand the great European powers. And Ranavaluna III was even the head of the armed resistance to colonization.
Madagascar is a matriarchy state. To this day, some traditions identical to matriarchy live here. For example, in peasant families, it is women who often make the most important decisions. It should be noted that it is often women who are appointed to many leadership positions. And for sure, if in some areas it is no longer matriarchy, then equal rights between a man and a woman are guaranteed!
Madagascar appreciates art. And not only appreciates: art permeates the entire daily life of a resident of Madagascar. This judgment can be applied to the visual arts, and to music, and, of course, to literature. The latter is largely represented by folklore; legends and fairy tales, composed in unforgotten times, were able to pass through the centuries and still live. After all, it is in them that the past of the people of Madagascar is so remarkably reflected, and the past simply needs to be appreciated.
Hira gashi is widespread in Madagascar. This is, in fact, a special kind of folk theatrical art in this state. During the work of hira gashi, performances of wandering troupes of artists are replaced one after another. They follow each other without ceasing for several weeks.
Music has firmly entered the hearts of the Malagasy. And so it is. Moreover, their love for music is so great that the musician's photograph found its place even on the thousand-franc bill. The latter depicts the flutist - Rakutu Frah. This man can be called the grandfather of the Malagasy pop music. The film "Red Island" was made about him. One of the most widely known musical groups in Madagascar is the Mahaleu group. Although she began her musical activity in Madagascar back in the 70s of the last century, it still does not lose popularity and has many fans among Malagasy.