With Mauritius being embroiled in a long era of colonial dominance, you would naturally expect to see vestiges of colonial remnants scattered throughout the country. The buildings and structures give you a glimpse into the life and style of living during the colonial era, all the while adding to the old-world charm that former imperial bastions in the country still cling on to. One such crucial colonial monument in Mauritius is the Fort Adelaide.
Nestled at the top of La Petite Montagne, which translates to The Little Mountain, is the Citadel Fort – a picturesque fortification which has long since abandoned its violent and dark history, and turned into one of the best places a tourist can visit while they’re over at Port Louis in Mauritius. Port Louis is the capital of the Mauritius islands, and thus, unrivalled in its beauty and ethereal scenery. Ever since it was erected in the middle of the island back in circa 1834, the Citadel Fort - which is officially registered as Fort Adelaide – has provided for those in control with a strategic 360-degree view of the entire island. The Citadel Fort had been named Fort Adelaide after the wife of King William IV, Queen Consort Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, who was the King of the United Kingdom, and all the colonies held by them.
The citadel itself was built as a purely defensive fortification for the British soldiers who had taken over the island of Mauritius and needed to protect themselves against the riots organised by the French citizens settled in that area who were rebelling against the laws set up by the British which abolished slavery around Port Louis. That issue and the fact that the news of the initiation of the French Revolution of 1830 had begun to fuel tensions in and around Mauritius had led to then Colonel Thomas Cunningham designing up a fortress made up of basalt stones in a key location of Port Louis. About its south-eastern bastion, Fort Adelaide was actually built upon a previously constructed fort which had been erected by Antoine Marie Desforges-Boucher back in 1743. Although the citadel itself never saw any major war or bloodshed within its walls, Fort Adelaide remains one of the only forts built during the British period in the Mauritius which is still intact. Thus, as the days passed and the extensive requirement of surveillance for danger decreased, Fort Adelaide was turned into a historic tourist spot which welcomes hundreds of visitors each day, who enter with high expectations of rekindling history and leave with satisfaction brimming to the tip.
An Exemplary Example of British Architecture
Being explicitly designed to resemble a Moorish fortress, the bastions of Fort Adelaide are well known for having the power to enchant every visitor into travelling up to the summits of the citadel within minutes of their entry into the building. Once you step on to the terrace of Fort Adelaide, the sight you will be greeted with will be something which will remain forever engraved behind your eyelids. As everyone who has taken the first step into the capital city will notice, Port Louis is a busy city, juxtaposed with colonial buildings and modern high-rises. Standing on top of the century-old monument, the first thing you will notice is the grandiose harbour front of the island. While the cylinders of the Bulk Sugar Terminal reaching up to the sky will be the first thing you see, directly ahead of that will be Le Caudan Waterfront, stretching out into the vast Indian Ocean, which will seem even more beautiful than it originally is, with the reflection of the sea dancing patterns on the external walls of the buildings. If that was your view initially as you gazed forward from the fort, looking precisely to your left will now allow you to witness the Champ de Mars. The Champ de Mars itself is exceptionally famous to have been one of the only areas in Port Louis where one can revel in natural greenery, and if visiting the racecourse itself doesn’t aesthetically please a tourist, getting a panoramic view of the entire circuit from the top of Fort Adelaide should do the trick.
Despite the external sights, one can see at the Citadel Fort being more famous and popular among the tourists; one must not think that they can afford to neglect the internal beauty of the fortress. While everyone is huddled up at the roof of the fort, you can easily take a 30-minute stroll through the fortification and marvel at the historical splendour of the fortress. The old barracks of Fort Adelaide, which were once used to house and train troops of King William IV who were stationed in Mauritius, have been restored and turned into a row of little boutiques – each of which maintains a huge stock on local and foreign trends. If you ever get tired of roaming around the extensive fortification and climbing up Fort Adelaide, which lies 240 feet above sea level, hitting these boutiques to relax a little, do some window-shopping, and maybe buying a souvenir or two is the best thing you can do to make the most out of your time here at Fort Adelaide.
One of the quickest ways to reach the Fort Adelaide is by going on a drive uphill via the Suffren St. Allow, which only calls for a 10-minute climb before you come in direct view of the magnificent fortress gates. If you do not want to bother driving your car, you can also reach the citadel by boarding a public bus from a Taj Mahal bus stop in Port Louis, from where it is only a short ride, spent in the utmost comfort, to the entrance of Fort Adelaide.