Lifestyle & Travel
Apr 1, 2016
A History to Be Felt
Mauritius is a country that includes the Island of Mauritius, the Island Rodrigues, and the outer islands, Agalega, St. Brandon and two disputed territories. Focusing on the Island of Mauritius, it leaves anyone agape upon seeing the beaches, landscape, cultural diversity, and joy of life. One can visit the local villages, and hike through the mountains, or go deep-sea fishing, practice water sports, learn the customs or find the Cultural Heritage.
Being located in the crossroads of many trade routes, along the coast of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean, the Mauritius Island has accumulated a huge variety of cultural heritages. The most important, however, is probably related to slavery. UNESCO has classified two sites as World Heritage, Le Morne Cultural Landscape, a "place of resistance to slavery", runaway slaves used to hide here, protected by the mountain's isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, during the 18th and early 19th Centuries; and Aapravasi Ghat, - "symbolic space of indentured labour", the only surviving remnant of an immigration depot, typical of the second half of the 19th Century, and the first in a British colony, intended to welcome indentured labourers between 1834 and 1920. These classifications make the Mauritius Island unique, and this is the only Country in the world with two classifications dedicated to this aspect of cultural history.
Mauritius is thought to have been first discovered by the Arabs and later by the Portuguese, but none of them attempted to settle there, and left it uninhabited. The Dutch Republic colonized it in 1638, and named the Islands in honour of Prince Maurice van Nassau, but left the colony in 1710. The Island went to the hands of the French in 1715, who named it Isle de France, and during their rule, Mauritius became an important trade routes' base from Europe to the East. At this time, there was a long power struggle for Mauritius between France and Britain. The French surrendered on terms that allowed settlers to keep their land and property, the use of the French language, and the law of France in criminal and civil matters. The British reverted the Island's name to Mauritius. On 12 March 1968, the country became an independent state, following the adoption of a new Constitution, and in 1992 it was integrated in the Commonwealth of Nations.
As a result of centuries of colonizing, Mauritius Island features an equally diverse ethnicity, and freedom of religion is a constitutional right. Its inhabitants have origins from India, Africa, Europe and China, and according to the "Statistics Mauritius", Hinduism is the main religion, followed by Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. Today, Mauritius is a country where religious beliefs are in union, which is evidenced even in the national anthem: "one people… one nation, in peace, justice and liberty".
Of course this diversity is reflected not only in the culture, but also in the country's cuisine. It is possible to taste the whole world in their dishes, Mauritian people are adventurous with food, and consume Creole, Chinese, Indian or Arabic food. In a combination influenced by different cultures and cooking traditions, the local food is delicious, you can go to a table d'hôte, or a specialized restaurant. Examples of Mauritian dish are the "dholl purri", which is a wheat pancake stuffed with dholl (lentils) and served with a tomato sauce called "rougaille"; the "farata", a sort of pancake served with a few dollops of the typical white bean curry and rougaille sauce; the "gâteaux piments", a very typical street food, also known as "dal fritters" or chilli cakes, and the "samosas", a thin dough pie wrapped with meat and curry.
The Mauritius Island is a place full of wonderful things and has an incredible beauty. The warm seawater lagoon caresses the coast line swiftly and softly, and the white sand invites anyone to come and just relax, and soak up the sun. Each of its shores tell tales of the past, and welcome us to its white sand beaches. For the North goes those who like water sports such as windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing and parasailing. In the evenings, the region's trendy bars, restaurants and clubs, buzz with life, featuring unparalleled views of the sunset. The East is where we meet the wilderness, the nature. We embrace the white beaches of Palmar and Belle Mare, ever stretching along the coast, fringed on one side by shady green casuarina trees and edged by the seawater lagoon on the other. The South-East quarter of the island is characterized by its high cliffs that provide great photo opportunities throughout the journey round the Southern tip of the Island. There, the sea crushes against the rocks, and sways to the land ever so freely, thanks to the breaks in the reef. The West Coast is the place where the sun performs its sets for the visitors. They can also go deep-sea fishing in this place that is also loved by surfers, who go to Tamarin, the surf centre of the Island.