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Mayotte: Coral Paradise Of East Africa

Published: 23.11.2011
In this article you will find out something about one hundred and first department of France, which lies near Madagascar.

Mayotte Island is located off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, approximately 310 km northwest of Madagascar. The island belongs to territorially Comoros Islands, politically it is a special territorial unit overseas France. In fact Mayotte territory consists of three islands: Grand Terre or Mahora, Pamandzi or Petit Terre Chissioi (M'Zamboro) - surrounded by a huge ring of coral reefs. Total territorial area is 374 km².

The population of the island is around 210 thousand inhabitants. Most are Mahoranes - mixed ethnicity. Also live in Mayotte representatives of other African nationalities Antalote, Cafre, Mako, Oimatsaha, Sakalava, etc. Ethnic Frenchmen lived here only 4% of the total population of the island. Most hold positions in local government and have more income. The official language is French (it uses 35% of the population), but most people communicate in the local language – mahorain language (Swahili dialect).

The majority of the population of the island - 97% - are Muslims, other 3% - mostly Christians and Roman Catholics.

Mayotte has the status of overseas territory of France in 2009, the inhabitants of the island voted in a referendum to change the status of the island at 101. departament of France, which was consecrated in 2011 in official places.

The head of state is the President of France, who is represented by the prefect. The prefect is appointed by the president of France. Legislative power is exercised by a unicameral General Council (19 members) who are elected for three years. Head of Government is the President of the General Council, elected by its members for six years.

 The inhabitants of Mayotte are full citizens of France, and elected a deputy to the French National Assembly and two members of the French Senate.

The main administrative centre is Mamoudzou located on the island of Grand Terre, and is the most populous city in Mayotte. The old capital of the island of Mayotte and Comoros islands all at the same time - Dzaudzi, lies on a small rocky island Pamandzi (Petit Terre). It is a city that is full of traditional local architecture, palm trees and eucalyptus trees. The city is not to find many sights, but the attractive sights can include cultural heritage centre, government buildings, renovated mosque, royal tombs from the 16th century and a picturesque local marketplace. Architecture of Mayotte is very simple and is not marked Arab influence as is the case with the other Comoros islands. There are usually a wide street with wooden or mud huts, which are covered with coconut leaves. Most can see the "bangas" - color shelters with graffiti and various pictures. 

The island of Mayotte is the oldest of all the Comoros Islands. Coral reefs that surround the island are 30 to 40 million years old. Underwater is a completely different fascinating world, which consists of underwater caves, canyons, rare species of fish and animals, such as the coelacanth, which occur only in the world at this point. The island is also famous for its numerous rocks and lava fields, spectacular natural scenery, picturesque bays and beaches. All this attracts crowds of tourists from around the world.

Text: Maxim Kucer

Photo: Christophe Laborderie (foto 2), Julien.noel,



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