For some Mauritius may be all about beautiful beaches, crystal clear ocean and lagoons, natural excursions, shopping haven and buzzing nightlife. Its true all of this makes Mauritius the awesome holiday destination that it is. However, it would be a sin if we ignore the historical sites that the place has in store us; one of them being the marvellous Balaclava Ruins, embraced by the authentic estate of Maritim Resort and Spa on the Turtle Bay shore. Every place has a history of its own that shapes a visitor’s perspective and experience about that place, and Mauritius has a vibrant one in that case.
Mauritius witnessed a growth in its economy due to the sugar plantations under the French rule. In order to surplus the growth and protect the island, Mahe de Labourdonnais, the French Governor, order the construction of a fort within few metres of the Turtle Bay, getting its name from the large population of turtles that inhibited there. The popularity of turtle meat and their oil led to change of its name Arsenal Bay which was also apt because of the ammunition storage at the fortress. An explosion took place in the arsenal back in 1774 which scattered and decimated the parts of the fort all over the area. Since then, it is believed that it got the name Balaclava ruins indicating towards a European war with the same name. It is also believed that the name is derived from the black lava rocks lurking in the area after years of volcanic activity.
If you visit the Balaclava ruins today, you’ll see signs of the presence of a colonial society dating back to the 1800s. The remains of the fortress also bear evidence to the earliest settlements of the French rule and going back beyond that when the Dutch came in to Mauritius.
You’ll get to see an old flourmill which was used to produce flour to make many food products. The original seawalls built around the fortress are readily visible and the ruins are conveniently located in the vicinity of the Maritim Hotel. The landscape comprises of lush green vegetation and the Citron River. The natural footpath makes it easy for on-foot exploration of the area. From the historical grounds, you can also enjoy the gorgeous views of Mauritius’ mountain range.
Currently, the estate is a part of the German chain of hotels and a Mauritian family who work together towards the preservation of this heritage site. Chateau Mon Desir is a restaurant built in the spot of the original Mon Desir home from where the Turtle Bay and the ruins are visible.
So visit the Balaclava Ruins and take yourself on a journey back to the colonial period of Mauritius. Stay at the Maritim Hotel for adding a refreshing touch to this historical visit!
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How to Reach Balaclava Ruins
You should take a taxi and go for a 10 minute drive from the Grand Bay, follow the coastal down heading south to the Maritim Hotel on the south west coast of Mauritius near the Turtle Bay and ask permission from the security guard to explore the area. As you enter the gate, the path to ruins start right away and the ruins can be found after a 30 metre walk. For an even easier access to the ruins, you can opt to stay at the Maritim Hotel. After proper approval, you can rent bicycles to tour the grounds. It should be kept in mind that not all areas are accessible by bicycle so you’ll have to park it and follow the footpaths.
The entrance fee for visitors is free for which you have to call them and inform them in advance. The fee only applies when the location is used for film shoots and fashion photography.