20 January, 2006

A Stroll in the Capital City

Fiji's capital provides a variety of culture, sights and sounds. By just taking a walk in the heart of the city and following the foreshore you will see some of Suva's famous historical buildings and be introduced to the local way of city life. A stroll through Suva reveals both the buildings from her rich colonial past as well as the modern transformation she has undergone since Fiji gained independence on October 10, 1970. Starting at the bus station, you can shop at the Suva Flea Market for a wide selection of clothing, bags and other bits and pieces while across the road at the Municipal Market you can wonder at the array of fruit and vegetables before sampling one or two. If you would like to know what that piece of exotic fruit is just ask. The Fiji Visitors Bureau is worth a visit just to look at the Victorian building that sits under the fig tree that has been the meeting place for many Fijians for many years. The building was built in 1912, as the Savings Bank Building with the Suva Telephone Exchange upstairs. Nearby is the Sacred Heart Catholic cathedral. Its construction started in 1895 but was not completed and used until July 1902. The stone was brought into Fiji as ships ballast from Hunters Hill near Sydney, Australia. Along the sea wall is Tiko's floating restaurant - not far from the Suva Civic Centre. In Victoria Parade you will find the Old Town Hall, one of Suva's finest examples of colonial architecture, built in 1904 as a memorial to Queen Victoria for her Diamond Jubilee. Suva City Library was built in 1909 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie and its unusual design would almost certainly stem from its origins as one of the many Carnegie libraries established around the world. You can explore the tranquil setting of Thurston Gardens or browse through Fijian relics and exhibits at the museum. In between these buildings with a rich historical background, are new buildings that have come up in recent years. Some examples are FNPF's Downtown Boulevard in Ellery Street; the Reserve Bank of Fiji and the Suva Central buildings which are next to the Sacred Heart Cathedral; and FNPF Dolphin's Plaza, Ro Lalabalavu House and Suvavou House on the other side of the city along Victoria Parade.

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