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Kingdom of Ambohitrabiby: Discover the rich history and majesty of the royal palace

Kingdom of Ambohitrabiby: Discover the rich history and majesty of the Royal Palace

Rova ambohitrabiby: The third sacred hill of Imerina

Ralambo, the son of Andriamanelo, was a cherished child born to his mother after she had experienced six miscarriages. His birthplace was carefully selected by a diviner to avoid repeating the curse. Ralambo was born in a house shaped like a boat, and his name originated from the encounter with a boar named “Lambo.” Additionally, his name has an Asian origin, meaning “ox” in that language.

Afterward, Ralambo married Princess Rabehavina and had two children with her: Ravaomasina and Andriantompokoindrindra. He then took another wife, who happened to be his cousin as well, named Ratsitohina. She gave birth to the future king Andrianjaka.

The Kingdom of Ambohitrabiby:

Ambohitrabiby is a significant place in Madagascar, known as the birthplace of the Merina dynasty. It was a sacred hill and an important location for royal ceremonies and traditions. The first king of Ambohitrabiby, Ralambo, played a crucial role in shaping the social hierarchy and established the tradition of using zebu meat in their diet.

Ralambo was responsible for driving out the vazimba, the original Malagasy people, and creating a caste system consisting of nobles (andriana), commoners (hova), and slaves (andevo). Additionally, he introduced the practice of collecting chrysalides from Ambohitrabiby to be used in crowning ceremonies for rulers.

Furthermore, Ambohitrabiby was renowned for producing royal lambas, intricately woven traditional garments worn by sovereigns throughout history. The ceremonial killing of a zebu during royal baths marked another significant tradition linked to this region.

The legacy of Ralambo’s influence can still be seen today through remnants such as stone inscriptions marking the introduction of zebu meat into their cuisine. The historical significance combined with cultural practices makes Ambohitrabiby an essential part of Madagascar’s heritage.

The Ambohitrabiby Palace:

During the reign of King Ralambo, Ambohitrabiby was home to two palaces: Fenohasina for the king and Manjakazafy for his family. The hill was divided into distinct sections: to the east were the king’s subjects, known as Zanakarivo; to the north were his political advisors called Zanadoria; to the west were his descendants or Zanadralambo; and to the south were where the zebus were kept in an area called D’ambodifahitra hill. The palace served as a venue for various grand festivities and ceremonies, while the royal tomb lay nearby in the form of a pile of stones.

Fanorona: A Traditional Board Game from Madagascar

The famous game Fanorona originated in Ambohitrabiby, Madagascar. Initially a pastime for Malagasy kings, it eventually became popular among the general population. Renowned master Ralambo excelled at Fanorona and advised his sons not to be defeated at the game, as it could lead to losing the kingdom. As a result, his sons Andriantompokoindrindra and Andrianjaka also became skilled masters of the game.

The Lamba Landy: Wild Silk Fabric

The Lamba Landy fabric is considered sacred and noble. It is made from silk, derived from mulberry trees and the breeding of silkworms. Known as “the fabric of nobility,” it was primarily worn by kings and rulers. The fabric is also sacred as it is used to make the “lamba mena” or shroud.

Ambohitrabiby serves as the capital of Lamba Landy and was introduced by Habib’s mother in Imerina. She taught her daughters-in-law and their descendants how to make it, advising them to keep the creation process a secret. Despite other regions in Madagascar focusing on this industry, Ambohitrabiby remains the primary supplier of Lamba Landy.

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