Discovering the historic port town - Levuka

Fiji's historic port town - Levuka was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2013.

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Levuka is a town on the east coast of Ovalau Island in Fiji, formerly it was the capital of Fiji. According to the 2007 population census, the town of Levuka alone accounted for half the population of the entire island of Ovalau. It is also the economic center and the largest of the 24 municipalities on the island. Township is a rare example of a colonial port town still evolving and a settlement of quite a large European population - citizens who came to the island in the nineteenth century. 

It was these European settlers who formed the town of Levuka in 1820. They brought the coastal town into a thriving and important trading center in the area. 

In 1858, Father Marist founded the first church in Levuka. In 1871, King Serup Epenisa Cakobau took the throne and founded the Fiji state. In 1874, Fiji was incorporated into the British colony, but Levuka remained the capital until 1877 when the government moved to Suva. The reason for this change was that the management system believed that 600 meters of rock around the town limits the expansion of the capital. 

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The beautiful coastline of the historic town of Levuka 

The historic port town-Levuka is famous for its many "first" things, such as the first Fijian bank built here, post office, schools, private hospitals, city hall, etc. The Fiji’s first Fiji Times newspaper also has its headquarters in Levuka, which is still in operation today. The Royal Levika Hotel is the oldest hotel in the South Pacific that has been operating since its inception. The exact year of establishment of this hotel has not yet been determined accurately but according to documents it has existed since the 1860s. The first Levuka public school opened in 1879 and many Fijian leaders before and after independence in 1970 were trained there. 

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The town was crowded and an important port for ships to cross the Pacific Ocean until 1950. The abandonment of the harbor seriously threatened the town's major economy. 

In 1964, a Japanese company came here to set up the Pacific Fish Company. The company specializes in produced and transported canned tuna to markets in Europe and Canada. A joint venture between the government and PAFCO was opened in 1976, which was the largest private company on the island. Due to isolation, travel in Levuka played a small role that didn’t contribute significantly to the economy of the island. 

Public buildings in Levuka remain intact until now: Fiji museum, public library, kindergarten, pitch, hall, a shop built in 1878, a trading company established from the early days of newly established towns, an old building built in 1980. Besides, some other famous places such as: Sacred Heart Church built in 1858, Levuka Town Hall built in 1898 to honor Queen Victoria by Diamond Jubilee architect. 

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Some of the typical ancient buildings of the historic town - Levuka 

By: Mithrine Smith

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