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Toamasina, meaning "like salt" or "salty", unofficially and in French also Tamatave, is the capital of the Atsinanana region on the east coast of Madagascar on the Indian Ocean. The city is the chief seaport of the country, situated 215km northeast of its capital and biggest city Antananarivo, near the centre of the eastern coast at 18 10 S, 49 32 E. According to the 2013 official estimate, Toamasina had a population of 274,667. The city is served by Toamasina Airport.OverviewToamasina owes its importance to the existence of a coral reef which forms a spacious and fairly commodious harbour, entered by two openings. The city center is built on a sandy peninsula which projects at right angles from the general coastline. On this are crowded together a considerable number of houses, with shops and merchant offices located in the main thoroughfares.The city has wide palm tree-lined avenues and a wide selection of hotels and restaurants. The beaches in this area are famously beautiful, although sharks and pollution often prevent swimming and watersports. Bazary Be is a famous colorful street market, specializing in exotic spices and locally made handicrafts. The central market in the heart of the city is one of the most popular sites in the city.HistoryUnder French domination, Toamasina was the seat of several foreign consuls, as well as of numerous French officials, and was the chief port for the capital and the interior. Imports consisted principally of piece-goods, farinaceous foods and iron and steel goods; main exports were gold dust, raffia, hides, caoutchouc (rubber) and live animals. Communication with Europe was maintained by steamers of the Messageries Maritimes and the Havraise companies, and also with Mauritius, and thence to Sri Lanka, by the British Union-Castle Line.Toamasina (Tamatave) is in Toamasina Province. Add Toamasina (Tamatave) and other destinations in Madagascar to your travel itinerary using our Madagascar trip builder website .
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