Victoria is the main commercial, economic, cultural and political hub of the Seychelles, but the capital retains a charming provincial atmosphere. Although it is one of the smallest capital cities in the world, Victoria boasts a number of intriguing sights, including a bustling market, manicured botanical gardens and attractive colonial buildings. All of this is set against the backdrop of a turquoise sea and rolling hills, making Victoria a lovely capital to explore.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is one of Victoria’s most beautiful sights. Built in 1851, the church is one of the oldest on the islands. The first and only bishop of the Seychelles is buried under the floor, and his tomb is marked with a special plaque commemorating his work in the community. The carved doors and tabernacle were designed by Seychellois sculptor Egbert Marday, and the peaceful space is filled with colored light filtering through the stained-glass windows.
Another prominent church is St. Paul’s Cathedral, home of the Anglican church in Victoria. The original church was consecrated in 1859 but was twice expanded. A new tower was constructed in 1910 and the sanctuary was added in 1978. The structure is currently under renovations to expand once again to accommodate more worshippers.
Just north of the quaint town center is La Bastille, a national monument built based on the designs of Alfredo Leit in 1973. Once home to the National Archives, the stuccoed building now contains the National Ministry of the Arts, Culture and Sports.
Valuable government records and historical documents are stored at the Seychelles National Archives. The collection dates back to the discovery of the islands in the early 1770s, and one of the most intriguing exhibits is a vast collection of photographs from the early days of colonization. The friendly researchers are always happy to give visitors a guided tour, and the museum is a great introduction to the history and culture of the Seychelles.
One of the best ways to get a feel for the way of life on the islands is to visit the Sir Selwyn Clarke market. Busy and colorful, the market has been at the heart of the capital since 1840 and continues to be the best place to shop for spices, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables. The lively atmosphere is especially exciting on Saturday mornings, and boutiques and souvenir shops line the nearby streets.
The National Botanical Gardens are over a century old. The expansive collection of endemic, exotic and mature plants spans more than five acres of beautifully designed tropical gardens. Spices and fruit trees grow throughout the garden, and giant tortoises slowly cross the paths. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the fruit bats that roost and feed in the taller trees, and the orchid house contains an astounding variety of the blossoms, including many native varieties.
The small capital’s most prominent feature is the Victoria Clock Tower, known to the locals as the ìLorloz.î For over 100 years, the clock tower has been a focal point of the city and remains virtually unchanged from its original 1897 design.
One of the country’s major political landmarks is the Liberation Monument that stands near the Peopleís Stadium. Built to commemorate those who revolted against colonial injustice and oppression in 1977, the monument takes the form of a man with both arms raised high in a victory stance.
Victoria Geographical Location
Victoria is located on the northeastern peninsula of the island Mahé. The Population of Victoria is approximately 25,000.
English is the official language of Seychelles but the majority of the population speaks Creole.
Victoria Predominant Religion
- 82% Roman Catholic
- 7% Protestant
- 4% Other
- 3% Other Christian
- 2% Hindu
- 1% Muslim
- 1% None
The first white settlers in Seychelles were Roman Catholic and greatly impacted the country’s religious future.
The Seychelles Rupee is the official currency of Seychelles.
It is hot throughout the year in Victoria with little fluctuation. Pleasant trade winds keep the perceived temperature low but December through April can be quite humid.
Victoria Main Attractions
- Botanical Gardens
- Clock Tower
- Seychelles National Museum
Other Attraction in Victoria
- National Library and Art Gallery
- Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden
- Tea Factory
- Bel Air Cemetery