Port Louis : Home to half of our national heritage

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The Supreme Court The Supreme Court or the Palais de Justice was built between 1784 and 1787 by 100 Government slaves and a few coloured and free black artisans/craftsmen under the orders of Chevalier de la Martiniere. Between 1790s and 1830s, additional stone buildings were added which served as records office, offices for the staff of the court and a small law library. For more than 230 years, it has served as the seat of the country?s Supreme Court where crucial decisions have given in hundreds of key legal cases which have shaped our judicial system ● The Trou Fanfaron Police Station The Trou Fanfaron was constructed between 1767 and 1770. Between the 1770s and early 1900s, it served as a corps de garde or small military post for Trou Fanfaron Bay by the French and the British authorities. During mid-20th century, it was converted into a police station. During the 1700s and 1800s, it was one of the important fortifications of Port Louis ● The Port Louis Municipal Theatre The Port Louis Municipal Theatre was constructed between 1820 and 1822 by Government slaves and Government apprentices also known as Liberated Africans under the direction of Sieur Poujade, an architect. The colonial government put up part of the 50,000 piastres required to erect the Theatre and the rest was obtained from some of the businessmen and wealthiest residents of Port Louis. The Port Louis Municipal Theatre is the first major building constructed by the British colonial government. For almost two centuries, it has served as one of the important centres of cultural and artistic activities ● The Central Market Between 1841 and 1846, the Port Louis Central Market was constructed. It consists of different sections: One for meat and fish, one for vegetables and fruits and one for other items such as handicrafts and clothing. For more than a century and a half, it has served as the largest and most important market in Mauritius as well as forming an integral part of the capital?s economic and social activities. The Stone and Iron Works located around the market is also a national monument and was built in the 1840s. ● La Citadelle or Fort Adelaide It is named after Queen Adelaide the wife of King William IV of Great Britain. It was built between 1833 and 1840 at a cost of more than 40,000 pounds sterling and is located on the Petite Montagne and more than 240 feet above sea level. It was built by Government slaves, indentured workers, skilled artisans from India, prisoners from the Port Louis Prisons, Indian Convicts, British soldiers and Mauritian apprentices. ● The Vagrant Depot The Vagrant Depot was built between 1864 and 1867 by vagrants, ex-indentured labourers and Creole Mauritians. From 1864 until 1886, it served as the colony?s Central Depot for vagrants prior to which it served as the Headquarters of the Convicts Department between 1816 and 1853 where around 1600 convicts from India and some from Sri Lanka were kept. More than 60,000 indentured and non-indentured labourers were imprisoned there as vagrants and deserters. It was closed in 1886 and decreed a national monument in 1958 making it the first indenture site to be given such a status. It is the second most important indenture site in Mauritius after the Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site. ● The General Post Office or the New Postal Museum The General Post Office was built between 1865 and 1870 at a cost of more than 12,000 pounds sterling through the labour of former indentured labourers, vagrants and creole artisans/craftsmen. Between 1870 and the early 21st century, or for more than 130 years, it served as the island?s most important post office. In 1958, it was proclaimed national monument. In 2008, it was converted into a postal museum. ● The Mauritius Institute The Mauritius Institute was built between 1880 and 1884. For more than 100 years, it has served as a museum, public library and partly as an art gallery. It is our country?s first museum and was the oldest public library. Today, it still houses the Natural History Museum and part of the staff of the Mauritius Museums Council ● The Granary Building Between 1926 and 1929, the Granary Building was constructed. Between the 1930s and 1970s, it served as a warehouse where sacks of sugar, rice, flour and other grains were stored. It is the largest warehouse as well as the largest red brick building ever built in Mauritius. It extends over an area of more than 2 acres and consists of three levels. In 2005, it was recommended to be decreed national monument by the National Heritage Fund. by Satyendra Peerthum
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