Antananarivo, better known in the short version Tana, is the bustling capital of Madagascar with about 2,000,000 inhabitants. Situated in the high plateau, the city was founded in 1610 by a Malagasy King. To protect the newly gained territory he left 1000 men behind and that’s how Antananarivo got its name (town of 1000). It has developed to a quite interesting city with a lot of contrasts.
The city was captured by the French in 1895 and incorporated into their Madagascar protectorate. After the French conquest of Madagascar when the city had a population of some 100,000, it was extensively remodelled as the population grew to 175,000 by 1950. Roads were constructed throughout the city, broad flights of steps connecting places too steep for the formation of carriage roads, and the central space, called Andohalo, was enhanced with walks, terraces, flower-beds and trees. Water, previously obtained from springs at the foot of the hill, was brought from the Ikopa River, which skirts the capital to the south and west.
After independence in 1960 the pace of growth increased rapidly. The city\'s population reached 1.4 million by the end of the 20th century. Industries include food products, cigarettes, and textiles. The city is guarded by two forts built on hills to the east. Including an Anglican and a Roman Catholic cathedral (this is the see city of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Antananarivo), there are more than 5,000 churches in the city and its suburbs, built in 2008.