State House reopens its doors for public tours |05 May 2022
State House has reopened its doors for public tours and a group of pupils from the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts educational programme were the first visitors to enter the historic landmark building yesterday.
While Seychellois visitors will visit the building for free, foreign visitors will pay a fee of R300. Visitors have to book the tour at the National Museum of History (Ex-Supreme court).
President Wavel Ramkalawan took time out of his busy schedule to welcome and interact with the group of visitors.
The President stated that the idea to have the tours is due to the building’s historical value and “because this place is the seat of government,” adding that it is also where important decisions are taken. He acknowledged that the p
Nichole Barreau, an assistant museum curator at the National History Museum, said all the tickets will be sold at the museum itself and the visiting people should get the chance to visit the place to learn more about its heritage. The visiting days are Mondays and Wednesdays at 10am. She added that many groups have shown interest for the guided tours and the limit is 15 visitors per hour-long session.
The pupils who visited State House were guided by museum assistant and historian Carl Asba and they had the opportunity to visit various sections of the building as well as its outside grounds. These include the L’Etablissement du Roi established in 1778 (the prison, bakery, hospital and living quarters), Grann Kaz, fountain, the tortoises and cemetery which was founded in 1827. Ms Barreau stated that the museum will provide the guided tours.
The pupils also visited the ‘Salle des Gouverneurs’ and Micharle Jacqueline, a pupil from Mont Fleuri secondary school who turned 12 on the same day, managed to capture the moment by taking a picture with the President and was celebrated with a birthday song and cupcake in the ‘Salle des Gouverneurs.’
Andreea Jeannevol, aged 14 and from English River secondary, said it was her first time visiting the State House. She described it as interesting and informative and what caught her interest the most was the portraits of the previous governors.
As for 13-year-old Calvin Gamatis of Plaisance secondary, he said he has learned a lot about the history of State House and enjoyed looking at the portraits of pirates and the different former presidents.
Tour guide Carl Asba said the visit will enable the pupils to learn more about the history of Seychelles and their identity. He described the first tour and having the opportunity to meet the President as “fantastic”.
He pointed out that the State House public tours will no doubt be of marketing value for foreign visitors.
It was in September 2011 that State House first opened its doors and surrounding grounds for public tours but these stopped after some time.