In the 18th century, Ambohimanga was a town that needed to protect its royal family. Shielded naturally by forests, the town also erected a massive wall, and seven outer gates to protect its people. The main entrance of these seven gates guarding the town from attackers was known as Ambatomitsangana, the standing stone, and it proudly still waits in position to be used for protection.
The standing stone is exactly as it sounds, a massive stone disc weighing 12 tons. As with many walled cities of the Merina Kingdom in Madagascar at the time, the gates were created out of circular discs that were pushed into position by hordes of men every night. The stone disc guarding Ambohimanga took 20 men, and was over 130 feet in circumference. Each night, these guards would roll the stone into position, blocking off the main entrance to the town.
Today, the entire Ambohimanga area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to royal burial grounds, the queen’s pavilions and the gigantic standing stone.
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