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List of World Heritage Sites in Madagascar

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention.[2] The sites of natural and cultural heritage in Madagascar became eligible for inclusion on the list when that state ratified the convention on July 19, 1983.[1]

The first site in Madagascar, the Strict Nature Reserve of the Tsingy of Bemaraha, was inscribed on the list as a site of natural importance at the 14th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Banff, Canada in 1990.[3] This was followed by the 2001 inscription of the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, a historic village and royal palace compound of cultural importance featuring well-preserved 19th-century palaces and numerous other natural and architectural features of historic, political and spiritual significance to the Malagasy people. Most recently, in 2007 the natural site of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana was added to the list, comprising a cluster of six national parks distinguished by their highly endemic biodiversity.[1] A fourth site, the capital of the 19th century Merina sovereigns of Madagascar at the Rova of Antananarivo, had originally been slated to become the nation's first cultural World Heritage Site in 1995 but was destroyed by a fire shortly before the inscription was finalized.[4]

In addition to Madagascar's three established sites, a further seven sites are listed as tentative and are under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for elevation to official status. Five initial sites were inscribed on the tentative list in 1997: the Betafo Riziculture and Hydraulic Landscape, the Royal Compound of Tsinjoarivo), the Mahafaly Country of Southwestern Madagascar, the Cliff and Caves of Isandra, and Antongona. In 2008, two additional sites were added to the list: Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve (an extension of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana) and the Dry Forests of the Andrefana.[1]

UNESCO placed the Rainforests of the Atsinanana on the list of World Heritage in Danger on July 30, 2010 following an increase in illegal logging in the parks since 2009 as a consequence of the 2009-2013 political crisis in Madagascar.[5]

World Heritage Sites[edit]

In the following table, the UNESCO data includes the site's reference number and the criteria it was listed under: criteria i through vi are cultural, whereas vii through x are natural.

  † Site listed as "in danger"
Site Image Location (Region) Year listed UNESCO data Description
Andreafana Dry Forests Tsingy Diana, Boeny, Anosy, Atsimo-Andrefana, Androy, Sava, Melaky 1990, 2023 494; vii, ix, x (natural) The Dry Forests of the Andrefana comprise six protected natural areas: the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Ankarana Reserve, Ankarafantsika National Park, Tsimanampetsotse National Park, Analamerana Reserve and Mikea National Park.[6] In contrast with the Rainforests of the Antsinanana, the parks included in the Dry Forests of the Andrefana are each located within semi-arid ecoregions and feature an entirely distinct set of highly biodiverse and endemic wildlife. Andreafana Dry Forests is a 2023 extension to the 1990 designated Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve World Heritage Site.[7]
Royal Hill of Ambohimanga Ambohimanga Analamanga 2001 950; iii, iv, vi (cultural) The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga in the central highlands has been a spiritual and political center for the Merina people since at least the 16th century. Home to numerous kings (including Andrianampoinimerina, who undertook the ultimately successful initiative to unite the island of Madagascar under a single ruler[8]) and designated site of many sacred royal rituals, the hill and the village that crowns it remain sites of pilgrimage to this day.[9]
Rainforests of the Atsinanana Marojejy National Park Sava, Analanjirofo, Haute Matsiatra, Vatovavy-Fitovinany, Ihorombe, Anosy 2007 1257; ix,x (natural) The six national parks that make up the Rainforests of the Atsinanana host a wide array of the distinctive flora and fauna endemic to Madagascar's rainforest ecosystems. The plant and animal life in these parks are threatened as the demands of a growing human population hasten deforestation and the fragmentation of remaining forests.[10]

This site was inscribed on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 2010 due to an increase in illegal logging in the parks following the 2009 coup d'état.[11]

Tentative list[edit]

In addition to the sites inscribed on the World Heritage list, member states can maintain a list of tentative sites that they may consider for nomination. Nominations for the World Heritage list are only accepted if the site was previously listed on the tentative list.[12] As of 2024, Madagascar recorded seven sites on its tentative list.[13]

Site Image Location Year listed UNESCO criteria Description
Former industrial site of Mantasoa (Ancien site industriel de Mantasoa) Betafo Mantasoa 2018 6302; ii, iv The site is a historical, cultural, and tourist site composed of a collection of stone and wooden monuments built by Jean Laborde (1800-1878), a Frenchman in the service of Queen Ranavalona I (1828-1861).[14]
Sainte-Marie catholic church of Ambodifototra (Eglise catholique d’Ambodifotatra de Sainte Marie) Ambodifototra 2018 6303; ii The Ambodifotatra Catholic Church represents the result of a decade-long evangelization effort (1837 to 1847) led by Father Pierre Dalmond in Madagascar, with a focus on Sainte Marie, Nosy-Be, Tuléar, and extending to the Comoros and Mayotte.[15]
Mahafaly country of Southwestern Madagascar (Sud-Ouest Malgache, Pays Mahafaly) Mahafaly tomb Atsimo-Andrefana 1997 949; not provided The south-west of Madagascar is inhabited by the Mahafaly people, who farm and herd their zebu within the arid ecosystem of the spiny forests, a semi-desert landscape of endemic succulents which include all plants of the family Didiereaceae. The Mahafaly are famed for such funerary art as highly ornate stone tombs and carved wooden grave posts (aloalo), which have become emblematic of the island of Madagascar.[16]
Nosy Lonjo of Antsiranana (Nosy Lonjo d’Antsiranana) Nosy Lonjo Antsiranana 2018 6304; iii, vii Nosy Lonjo is a mixed-use site situated at the northernmost point of Madagascar, nestled in the Bay of Diego-Suarez, within the Ramena Commune of the Antsiranana District.[17]
NOSYnakà (Sahamalaza, Nosy Hara, Nosy Tanikely, Lokobe, Ambodivahibe, Ankarea, Ankivonjy) Nosy Be panther chameleon Sahamalaza, Nosy Hara, Nosy Tanikely, Lokobe, Ambodivahibe, Ankarea, Ankivonjy 2018 6306; vii, ix, x The site consists of 7 marine protected areas:[18]
Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve: Extension of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Réserve Spéciale d’Anjanaharibe-Sud) Anjanaharibe-Sud Sava 2008 5313; ix, x Anjanaharibe-Sud lies east of Marojejy National Park, one of six parks constituting the Rainforests of the Atsinanana World Heritage Site. Numerous endemic plant species are found in Anjanaharibe-Sud, and the forest corridor of Betaolana connects the park to Marojejy, ensuring the wildlife of both parks access to greater territorial range.[19]
Upper Town of Antananarivo (La Haute Ville d’Antananarivo) Upper Town of Antananarivo Analamanga 2016 6078; ii, v, vi The Upper Town of Antananarivo is an urban site of exceptional quality that has no equivalent in sub-Saharan Africa. The mix of typically Malagasy architectural elements and elements from the colonial presence has shaped a unique architecture of high quality that is still sufficiently well preserved. The site is not only characterized by its architecture, but also by a specific urban form in which the elements of the landscape play an important role and contribute to the creation of a coherent urban ensemble of high heritage quality.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "World Heritage Convention: Madagascar". United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  2. ^ "The World Heritage Convention". UNESCO. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  3. ^ "Report of the World Heritage Committee, 14th Session". UNESCO. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  4. ^ Commission of the European Communities (March–April 1996). The ACP-EU Courier. 20 (156). {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "World Heritage Committee inscribes Rainforests of Atsinanana (Madagascar) on List of World Heritage in Danger". UNESCO. Archived from the original on January 17, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  6. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Andrefana Dry Forests". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  7. ^ "Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve". UNESCO. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  8. ^ Bradt, Hilary (2011). Madagascar (10th ed.). Guilford, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press Inc. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-84162-341-2.
  9. ^ "Royal Hill of Ambohimanga". UNESCO. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  10. ^ "Rainforests of the Atsinanana". UNESCO. Archived from the original on September 3, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  11. ^ "Investigation into the illegal felling, transport and export of precious wood in SAVA region Madagascar" (PDF). Global Witness, Environmental Investigation Agency. August 2009. p. 2. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  12. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Centre Tentative Lists". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. October 25, 2015.
  13. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Centre Tentative Lists". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. January 3, 2024.
  14. ^ "Ancien site industriel de Mantasoa" [Former industrial site of Mantasoa] (in French). UNESCO. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  15. ^ "Eglise catholique d'Ambodifotatra de Sainte Marie" [Sainte-Marie catholic church of Ambodifototra] (in French). UNESCO. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  16. ^ "Sud-Ouest Malgache, Pays Mahafaly" [Malagasy southwest, Mahafaly country] (in French). UNESCO. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  17. ^ "Nosy Lonjo d'Antsiranana" [Nosy Lonjo of Antsiranana] (in French). UNESCO. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  18. ^ "NOSYnakà" (in French). UNESCO. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  19. ^ "Réserve Spéciale d'Anjanaharibe-Sud (extension des forêts humides de l'Atsinanana)" [Special Reserve of Anjanaharibe-Sud (extension of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana)] (in French). UNESCO. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  20. ^ "La Haute Ville d'Antananarivo" [Upper Town of Antananarivo] (in French). UNESCO. Retrieved November 28, 2017.

External links[edit]