New Caledonia is a former colony. Colonial settlers, but also convicts forged the identity of the architectural heritage, next to the Kanak heritage. Colonial houses, temples and churches, but also the remains of the prisons give the archipelago its character.
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The Architectural Heritage
The colonial houses are real jewels. Most of all in Nouméa, they are tending to disappear, especially due to their fragile structures. Made of wood, stone, or even sheet metal, they give the capital city a certain charm. Some large residences can also be seen inland. At Faubourg Blanchot, in the very heart of Nouméa, you can take a walking tour to discover the beautiful buildings.
A Heritage that Can Be Visited
In September, New Caledonia celebrates Heritage Month. Many houses open their doors to the public for exhibits, usually about life in past times. Hagen Castle, Higginson House, or even Maison Célières are outstanding examples of this architecture. Don't miss the ecological museum of Café de Voh installed in a colonial house from the 19th century, or the villa museum of Païta, which testifies to the life of colonial settlers in New Caledonia and of the rules of life in the 1940's.
The Mining Heritage
New Caledonia is the land of nickel. Mining is extremely important for its economy. In order for you to appreciate all of its wealth, the Thio Museum traces the history of this green gold in a colonial-style building, the former administration office of the mining company during the 1890's. Further north, in Tiébaghi, you will be impressed by the wealth of the former mining village. Sites have undergone high-quality restorations and a visit is a highly instructive experience, without forgetting the breathtaking view!
The Prison Heritage
The old prisons are very present in New Caledonia. Its vestiges are still preserved today. In Nouméa, the Nouville peninsula is noted for hosting old buildings from that time, such as the Théâtre de l’île, a small chapel, and many buildings occupied by students, as well as a restaurant on the waterfront. The most impressive one, however, is Fort Téremba in Moindou. A sound and light show takes place there every year in September. Lastly, on the Isle of Pines, the remains of the prison tend to disappear nowadays under the vegetation, but they can still be discovered.
The most beautiful architectural heritage sites
- Fort Téremba
- Hagen Castle
- Higginson House
- Théâtre de l’île
- The Mining Village of Tiébaghi
- The churches of the Loyauté Islands
- The Eco-museum at Café de Voh
- The Museum House in Thio
- The Célières House
- The City Museum in Nouméa