More than a pit stop between resorts, Mahé’s tiny capital boasts lively history and vibrant architecture. But will its melting-pot mores survive a cash influx?

The self-styled “Creole capital of the world” makes its play for the title this week celebrating its unique African, Malagasy, Indian, Chinese, French and British blend at a six-day festival. Whether the claim is correct, this provincial city of 27,000 – crammed on to reclaimed mangrove swamps and artificial islands on the main Seychelles island of Mahé – is one of the world’s smallest capitals. Most tourists will know it as a sarong-shopping time killer between the airport – 8km to the south – and the harbour that ferries them to the Seychelles’ other principal islands.

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