Cultural heritage in New Caledonia
New Caledonia’s architectural heritage dates back to the colonial era. Discover charming period homes -vestige from the penal colony- or beautiful Catholic and Protestant churches that illustrate the local history of missionaries. Learn about the main influences that have shaped New Caledonia’s culture: the colonial era, nickel mining and its booming development, the penal colony.
A surprising architectural heritage
While in Noumea, head to the Nouville peninsula where a number of historical sites are located. Visit the Théâtre de l’île, built by convicts of the penal colony or stop by the 1881, a historical building that now hosts a restaurant. When you book your flight to Noumea, you don’t miss other architectural landmarks erected during the colonial era: the hospital, the Protestant Church, the cathedral, the Place des Cocotiers Square and the music gazebo. Colonial houses can be found all over town. Their architecture, both quaint and vibrant, will undoubtedly take you back in time. Chateau Hagen and Maison Higginson are two impressive historical buildings that often host exhibitions. If you visit Nouméa’s museum, you will discover a typical colonial building that once was the city’s first bank.
During local heritage days (Mois du Patrimoine) in September, learn about the different cultural influences that have shaped New Caledonia’s identity. Enjoy the traditional chants, dances and gastronomy that celebrate the island’s different ethnicities.
An architectural heritage both unique and remarkable
The old village of Tiébaghi
Located in the northern part of the island, Tiébaghi is a former chrome-mining village and somewhat of an open-air museum! Between 1877 and 1962, Tiébaghi even counted a bakery, a community center and a hospital. Almost 1700 people once lived in this highly historical village.
Majestic Fort Téremba
If you want to travel back in time, head to Fort Téremba. Built in 1870, the fort is a historical landmark representative of the colonial era. In 1989 it was listed as a historical monument. See its watchtower and bailey against a unique tropical backdrop…somewhat anachronistic!
In Noumea, Faubourg-Blanchot is a historical neighborhood that counts about 60 period homes built before 1930. Wander peacefully through the quarter as a trail has been specifically designed to enjoy Faubourg’s architectural gems on foot. Last but not least, stop by Maison Célières, a must-see! Contemplate its beautiful gardens open to the public.
Local heritage days
Throughout the month of September, a festival called Le Mois du Patrimoine celebrates the cultural diversity of New Caledonia. Many events are organized around various cultural themes: enjoy guided tours, traditional dances, live music, mouthwatering food and exhibitions. Visit the Tjibaou Cultural Center or the Museum to learn about Kanak intangible and artistic heritage.