Victoria is the capital of the Seychelles and is located on the largest island of Mahé. The former British colony features neat historic houses and churches.
Victoria, or Port Victoria, is the capital of the paradisiacal archipelago in the Indian Ocean and is one of our top 10 attractions in the Seychelles. The smallest capital in the world nestles on the north coast of the largest island Mahé and houses, among other things, the only international airport in the Seychelles.
Victoria was founded in 1778 by the French, but under the British colonial government it was named after the then English queen. Especially since 1971, when the international airport was built, Victoria is the economic center of the Seychelles. The settlement of about 30,000 inhabitants is the only city in the Seychelles and the starting point for ferries to various neighboring islands.
Table of contents
Victoria old town
Victoria's stone and wooden houses are still reminiscent of the British colonial towns of the 20th century. The winding alleys in the Old Town house charming boutiques and colorful stores, while in the New Town, dominated by souvenir stores, the streets are wider and the houses more modern. Impressive yachts, tankers, cruise ships and merchant ships dock at the New Pier, as Seychelles' coconuts and spices are exported all over the world.
The center of Victoria is marked by the famous Clock Tower, the little brother of "Little Big Ben" in London. The Seychelles Courthouse is enthroned directly on the main square, and the pedestrian zone is lined with historic wooden houses. The Clock Tower is also the ideal starting point for discovering the sights of Victoria.
Clock Tower of Victoria
The Clock Tower of Victoria is the landmark of the Seychelles capital and was, as already mentioned, modeled after the Vauxhall Clock Tower at London's Victoria Station, the so-called "Little Big Ben". It is about 8m high and towers over the center of Victoria since 1903.
Its construction also celebrated the elevation of the Seychelles to a crown colony, which from now on was no longer administered from Mauritius, but directly by a governor. It can be found on Independence Avenue, which is otherwise lined with historic wooden houses and neat stores. Once an hour the bell of the clock tower strikes.
State House of Victoria
The State House is the residence of the current president of the Seychelles. It dates back to the British colonial era and was completed in 1910. At that time it was still called "Government House". Both the presidential living quarters and offices are housed in State House.
St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral is the main Anglican church in the Seychelles and is considered the second landmark of Mahé. In an original form, it was consecrated in 1859 by the first bishop of Mauritius, Vincent William Ryan. Since then it has been expanded twice and a tower and an altar were added. Since 1920, the Seychelles with Mauritius constitute a separate diocese and the episcopal see came to St. Paul.
Around the turn of the millennium, the church slowly became too small and in 2004 its expansion was completed, which now holds 800 worshippers, twice as many as its predecessor. Funding for the expansion was made possible by the government and donations from private individuals.
Catédrale de la Conception Immaculée
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the outskirts of the city is the main Roman Catholic church in the Seychelles. It dates from 1874 and holds about 700 worshippers. Its colorful stained glass windows offer a view of the lovingly tended garden that surrounds the church.
Also worth seeing is the two-story priest's residence right next to the cathedral. Called "La Domus", it was built in 1934 and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the Seychelles.
Hindu temple and mosque of Victoria
Also for the approximately 5,000 Hindus living on the Seychelles, a separate place of worship was built in 1992. The colorfully decorated Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar temple on Quincy Street is dedicated to the god Vinyagar and catches the eye from afar. When no ceremonies are taking place, the Hindu temple may also be visited from the inside - but only without shoes.
The small mosque with the golden dome completes the series of places of worship whose main faiths are represented in the Seychelles.
The impressive Capuchin House in Victoria is located between the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals and impresses with its handsome architecture. Ideally situated between the two churches, it once served as a training ground for priests.
Sir Selwyn Clarke Market
The market in Victoria is open daily from 4 p.m. and offers a variety of exotic spices in addition to fruits and vegetables. In the fish department, the catch of the day is offered for sale. By the way, free-ranging herons are used against the flies that swarm around the fresh fish.
The market should definitely be visited, even if you do not want to buy anything. First, you can't deny yourself a taste or two of the local delicacies, second, the market is the best place to experience typical Mahé life, and third, it's a real pleasure to watch the fishmongers professionally filleting their wares.
Tip: Revolution Avenue starts at the Victoria market and leads up to the 300m high St. Louis hill with a magnificent view. On the other side runs a picturesque serpentine path to the dreamlike Beau-Vallon, one of the most beautiful beaches on Mahé.
The legacy of the French in Seychelles consists, among other things, of the herbarium. The first French settlers collected the flora of the Seychelles, which was still completely unknown to them, in order to explore and learn about it. To this day, newly discovered plant species are identified in the Victoria herbarium.
There are around 500 different plant species to see, including 150 orchids and 40 different palm species alone. Among the most photographed specimens are the imposing Coco de Mer or the bright red flowering cannonball tree.
Museums in Victoria
The National Museum and the Natural History Museum of Victoria present the history of the Seychelles with documents and exhibits from the time of slavery and piracy, as well as the natural history of the picturesque archipelago. The historical highlight is the Pierre de Possession ("Stone of Possession"), which was placed by the first French settlers in 1756 - the Seychelles were once officially declared a possession of France.