Celebrating International Monuments and Sites Day – Apr 17

To celebrate the annual international day for monuments and sites on the 18th April, the National Heritage Fund of Mauritius organized an open day on the 22 & 23 of the same month for Historical sites and venues throughout the island, and among the long list of very interesting places I decided to visit the Government House at Port Louis, the State House at Reduit and the Domaine Des Aubineaux at Forest Side. Unfortunately I was free only on the 23rd and with my lovely little family we headed towards Port Louis round 2pm to visit that place considered the heart of the city.

The Government House

Getting into some history, this building was initially built by French Governor Nicolas de Maupin around 1730s, and later on upgraded by his successor Mahe de Labourdonnais in 1738. It was named ‘L’Hotel du Gouvernement’ (Government House) during the French colonial period and after the capitulation by the French to the British in 1810 this place underwent more upgrades. In our current days, this place also comprise of the Parliamentary at the other end and has offices for various highgrade politicians. Inside, we can see the paintings and portraits of Royal families from the British Colony. After an hour or so we decided to move to the next place.

The State House – Chateau du Reduit

The ‘Chateau du Reduit’ literally is a castle of past Governors of the island, and currently the office of the president of the Republic. Similar to the Government House, this castle was built during the French occupancy of the island back in the 18th century. From a plate fixed at the entrance of the huge building, its history read that it was initially used as a refuge for women and children in 1748, probably from invadors and external attacks. From what I read quite some time ago and if I’m still remembering, this purpose of a shelter was chosen as being the most inland building not so accessible to invadors…In 1778 it was rebuilt after termite attack, in 1868 the first floors were rebuilt etc. What I love about this castle is its magnificent garden at the other end with trees planted by quite some personalities, namely, Queen Elizabeth in 1972, Nelson Mandela in 1998 and so on.

The Reduit Viewpoint

At the far end of this huge garden is a monument, or rather memorial, built by Hesketh Bell in 1921 and following this path leads to a magnificent viewpoint over the Grand River North West gorges!

End of the Day

Unfortunately having anticipated this openday would end at 5pm, I couldn’t attend the last site of Domaine Des Aubineaux Colonial house since the visits ends at 4pm. Somehow, since I already had a glimpse (from here) of this dwelling at Forest Side I didn’t bother too much. I was mostly happy not only for being able to visit these two places but having been able to spend some nice family time together.

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