Found in the middle of the junction of Independence Avenue and State House Avenue, The Victoria Clocktower is the most prominent feature of Seychelles' small capital, and has acted as a focal point for nearly 100 years. While all around massive transformation has taken place in the town centre, with modern buildings of concrete and glass springing up, the Clocktower has remained virtually unchanged.
The Victoria Clock tower is a copy of the clock that was first erected in London in 1897 at the junction of Victoria Street near Victoria Station. Seychelles' governor Sir Ernest Beckham Sweet-Escott, who had admired it during a visit to London, ordered a similar clock for Seychelles as a memorial to Queen Victoria, who died in 1901 after 63 years on the thrown.
Made by a firm in Croydon, England, called Messrs. Gillet & Johnson, which had gained good reputation for specializing in making, on commission, that particular kind of clock tower in three different sizes, and paid for partly by public subscription, the clock was erected in Victoria in 1903, the same year that Seychelles celebrated its new status as a Crown colony, administered directly by a governor appointed by London.
The Clock Tower was originally black which made it look more like a giant grandfather's clock made of oak. In 1935, at the recommendation of the Governor, Gordon James Lethem, the Victoria City Council decided that it should be painted with a coating of aluminum silver to mark the silver jubilee of King George V. In the 1960s, its four lamps were replaced with new ones which were attached to the structure itself.
Originally, the clock was expected to chime, but sadly failed to do so. Today, however, the Victoria clock regularly strikes the hour, having had its mechanism completely replaced in 1999 by a modern, quartz masterclock. The work was carried out by the original manufacturer, Gillett and Johnson, with the cost again being met in Seychelles partly by public donation.
Voice of the Nation monument
The 'Voice of the Nation' monument is found on 5th June Avenue in Victoria. Properly known in Creole as 'Moniman Lavwa la Nasyon', which represents the voice of the Seychelles Nation, the monument is a gigantic Seychelles flag, ideally located in the Seychelles Peace Park. It was erected on 18th June 2008, on National Day.
Found at the junction between Independence Avenue and 5th June Avenue in Victoria, the bicentennial monument was inaugurated in 1978 and erected to celebrate 200 years of settlement on the island by Charles Routier de Romainville. It represents the three elements of Seychelles society: Europe, Africa, Asia.
The 'Unity Monument' is found next to the National Library in Victoria, along the junction leading to the 5th June Avenue. This represents the four sectors or pillars of Seychelles Economy :- Tourism, Agriculture, Fisheries and Small Businesses.
Found at Sans Souci, Venns Town got its name after a church Missionary Society Officer but now it is more popularly known as 'Mission'. Mission lodge was a settlement and a school established in 1875 and officially opened on the 20th March 1876. It closed down in 1885 as there was a shortage of funds.
Because of its isolation in a dense forested area, and its long distance from the main town, the land was very cheap, at a cost of 50 cents per year for 50 hectares. Only a rough track through the thick vegetation is what led people to and from Mission Lodge.
There were separate rooms for boys and girls, who were either orphans or children of freed slaves. Children were taught how to speak and read English under the shade of tall trees.
In 1883 Marianne North, a famous painter and botanist, painted some scenes of Mission Lodge, some of these paintings have found rest on the walls of State House Building.
Diamond Jubilee Fountain
Since Seychelles was once a British Crown colony (1811-1976), the 'Diamond Jubilee Fountain' pays tribute to Queen Victoria. It is situated on Independence Avenue in front of the Supreme Court building in Victoria.
Welcome to the national monuments of Seychelles
A nation learns its history from its monuments, for they are permanent reminders of the past. Seychelles monuments are distinguished either for their historical importance or scientific interest, or because they are aesthetic symbols that celebrate the social, political, cultural and economic achievements of the Seychelles Nation.
Officially opened in April 1883 for the burial of Catholic missionaries, this small cemetery has now some one hundred tombs, the oldest being that of a Sister who was buried in 1873. One of the most prominent graves is that of Father Theophile, whose death, at the age of 29 in April 1925, remains a mystery.
Bel Air Cemetery
The Bel Air Cemetery was the first official burial ground to be opened on Mahe, soon after the establishment of the French settlement in the late 18th century. Enigmatic figure whose bones are said to lie here was a Frenchman called Pierre-Louis Poiret, who claimed to be the son of the ill-fated Louis XVI. Jean-Baptiste d‘Argent, son-in-law of Queau de Quinssy. Jean-Francois Hodoul was successful corsair who settled in Seychelles after making his fortune. He built two houses, Chateau Mamelles and Ma Constance.
The Bicentennial monument, referred to in creole as the Moniman trwa lezel was erected in 1978 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the town of Victoria
A delightful variety of flowering plants and ferns, the gardens, which cover an area of approximately fifteen acres, contain several species of Seychelles endemic plants: latanier feuille, latanier hauban, bois sandal, vacoa marronââ‚¬¦ There have been several attempts to make an endemic corner.
Cascade Catholic Church
St. Andrew's Church of Cascade makes a picturesque landmark for those approaching from the sea. It is acknowledged by all as one of the finest jewels in the crown of the Catholic Church in Seychelles.
The fact that this was once the home of Seychelles' most famous corsair, Jean-FranĂ§ois Hodoul, gives it a special significance. Built in 1804 at Les Mamelles, to the south of Victoria, it is a magnificent plantation house, thought to be among the oldest homes in Seychelles.
Situated in the very heart of Victoria and believed to have been formed by the landslide of 1862, Freedom Square, formerly known as Gordon Square reflects the spirit of Seychellois solidarity and nationhood. During the protracted struggle for Independence (1964-1976), Freedom Square was the main rallying point for political meetings and demonstrations. It can be assumed that most of the wrathful cries of 'Freedom' emanated from this particular part of Victoria.
Probably one of the noblest examples of Creole architecture, this splendid home is at Francis Rachel street, directly opposite the National Library building in Victoria. Built late 1800, now being used as a jewellery boutique.
La Bastille was built in 1930s by Mr. Ange Pillieron. Because of the imposing height and brooding impregnability, the inhabitants of Mahe felt that the name La Bastille agreed with the character of the building. Today La Bastille is appropriately occupied by the National Heritage division of the Ministry of Culture and Information. In the grounds there is a valuable medicinal plant garden, the Jardin La Bastille, which is of interest to herbalists from the Indian Ocean. For many of the locals it is a haunted place.
Other national monuments include:
- La Domus
- La Plaine Saint Andre
- Les Palmes Theatre
- Liberation Monument
- Maison Blanche or White House
- Maison du Peuple
- Mission Ruins
- Nageon's House
- Old Government Secretariat
- Pierre Poivre Bust
- ST Paul's Anglican Cathedral
- Sans Souci House or "1776"
- SPUP/SPPF Museum
- State House
- State House Cemetery
- Supreme Court Building
- Victoria Clocktower
- Anse Boudin Church
- Baie STE Anne Church
- Granite Boulder (La Digue Island)
- La Digue Catholic Church
- Plantation House (La Digue Island)
- Doctor's House (Curieuse Island)
- Plantation House (Silhouette Island)
- Plantation House (Farquhar Island) Gordon square (after General Charles Gordon of Khartoum)