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Ambohimanga is the ancient capital of Madagascar . It is one of the 12 sacred hills surrounding Antananarivo that are important historical symbols: king Andrianampoinirimerina (lord central to Imerina) unified them after the capture of Tana in 1794. Ambohimanga was also the site of the royal tombs until 1897, when Gallieni decided to have them transferred. Prior to this, the city was considered sacred and as such forbidden to foreigners.
Today, the site is still a place of worship and pilgrimage. The fortified city has many gates, including “Miandrivahiny”, one of only two entrances corpses were allowed to pass through! On Fidasiana square, in front of the Rova, lies the sacred stone on which Andrianampoinirimerina was enthroned.