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Tuesday 23rd May
Fiji Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Fiji consists of a group of islands in the South Pacific, about two thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. The Kingdom of Tonga is to the southeast, the Republic of Vanuatu to the west and the Solomon Islands are to the northwest.

The largest islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Other islands include Taveuni, Kadavu, Gau and Koro. Suva, on Viti Levu, is the capital of Fiji.

The main islands are of volcanic orgin; some of the smaller islands are coral or limestone. Principal rivers on Viti Levu are the Ba, Rewa, Navua and Sigatoka.

The climate of Fiji is tropical marine.

Environment
There are large areas of forest in Fiji: rainforest, dry forest and mangrove forest. Flowering plants include the Tagimouci, the national flower, named after Lake Tagimaucia on Taveuni.

The National Trust of Fiji administers Fiji's National Parks. Sigatoka National Park (the Sigatoka Sand Dunes) was Fiji's first National Park established in 1989. Other National Parks include Koroyanitu National Heritage Park, Viti Levu, and Bouma National Heritage Park, Taveuni. The Sovi Basin, Viti Levu, has been under consideration as a World Heritage Site.

Fiji has no large mammals. Bats are the only indigenous mammals; pigs, domestic animals and the mongoose were introduced by migrants. A number of species of birds and reptiles and a variety of marine life can be found in the archipelago. Three types of turtles nest on the islands: the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle.

Architecture
The capital city of Suva, on the island of Viti Levu, is one of the largest cities in the South Pacific. As well as modern buildings, Suva has many examples of Colonial buildings in the old town.

The historic town of Levuka, on the Island of Ovalau, was the capital of Fiji before Suva. Levuka has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tavuni Hill Fort, north of Sigatoka on the island of Viti Levu, dates from pre-Colonial times.

Population
The population of Fiji was estimated at 883,125 in 2011.

Languages
English is the official language. Fijian and Hindustani are also taught in schools. There are local Fijian and Fiji-Hindu dialects.

Religion
Over half of Fijians are Christian; around a third of the people are Hindu and some follow Islam.

Food
Cassava, taro, sweet potatoes and breadfruit are eaten with chicken, pork, beef and fish. Cooking ingredients include coconut milk, ginger, lime, chili and garlic.

Rice is also a popular food. Indian cuisine has been introduced by the Indian community.

A lovo, an underground oven, is used to cook meat, fish and vegetables for traditional feasts.

Tropical fruits such as bananas, guavas, mangoes and pineapples are available. Vakalolo, a favourite dessert, is made from coconut, cassava, ginger and sugar.

Beer and wine are produced locally. Kava, known as yaqona, made from the roots of piper methysticum, is the traditional drink.

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