Castries

Castries /kəˈstrz/ (listen) is the capital and largest city of Saint Lucia, an island country in the Caribbean. The urban area has a population of approximately 20,000, while the eponymous district has a population of 70,000, as at May 2013. The city stretches over an area of 80 km2 (31 sq mi).[3][4][5]

Castries
View of Castries, Saint Lucia depicting its harbour.
Motto: 
Statio Haud Malefida Carinis  ("A Safe Harbour for Ships")[1]
The District of Castries, showing Castries city (red dot)
Coordinates: 14°01′N 60°59′W
Country Saint Lucia
DistrictCastries District
Founded1650 as "Carenage"
Renamed1756 as "Castries"
Founded bythe French
Named forCharles Eugène Gabriel de La Croix, marquis de Castries
Government
  Governing bodyCastries City Council
  MayorGeraldine Lendor-Gabriel
Area
  Total79 km2 (30.5 sq mi)
Elevation2 m (6.56 ft)
Population
 (2013)
  Total20,000
  Density250/km2 (660/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-4 (Eastern Caribbean Time Zone (ECT))
Area code758
Websitewww.castriescitycouncil.org

Castries is on a flood plain and is built on reclaimed land. It houses the seat of government and the head offices of many foreign and local businesses. The city is laid out in a grid pattern. Its sheltered harbour receives cargo vessels, ferries and cruise ships. It houses duty-free shopping facilities such as Point Seraphine and La Place Carenage. The city is well served by a bus system and taxi service. St Lucia's main post office is in Castries.

Castries is the birthplace of Arthur Lewis, winner of the 1979 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, as well as of Derek Walcott, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature.

History

In 1650, the fort auprès du Petit Cul-de-Sac et de la rivière du Carénage was founded by a group of 40 Frenchmen led by de Rousselan, when St. Lucia was purchased by Capt. du Parquet and Monsieur Houel from the French West India Company. The capital was moved to the south side of the harbor in 1769 by Gov. Baron de Micoud. In 1785, the village of Carénage was renamed Castries, after Charles Eugène Gabriel de La Croix, marquis de Castries, the French Minister of the Navy and Colonies.[6]

In 1835, the British built the western wharf in 1642 to facilitate the coal trade and the first steamship arrived in 1841, the RMS Solway.[6]:163,243–244

During World War II on 9 March 1942, the German U-161 sailed into Castries harbor at night and sank two allied ships,[6]:275[7] including the Canadian ocean liner RMS Lady Nelson, which was subsequently refloated in the harbour and taken to Canada to be converted to a hospital ship.

Castries has been rebuilt many times, following major fires on 15 October 1805, 6 April 1813, and most notably on 19 June 1948.[6]:124–1256,289

Tourism

Castries Harbour, a docking port for cruise ships.

One of the major tourist areas in St. Lucia, Castries is a port of call for cruise ships. They dock at Pointe Seraphine, to the north of the harbour.[8]

Landmarks include the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Derek Walcott Square (renamed from Columbus Square to honor the island's Nobel Prize-winning poet, Derek Walcott), the City Library, the Government House, and Fort Charlotte, at the top of Morne Fortune (an 845-foot or 258 m hill). Beaches include Vigie Beach, Malabar Beach, Choc Beach, and La Toc Beach.

Transport

Castries is served by George F. L. Charles Airport.[9] Passengers on longer flights arrive at Hewanorra International Airport, near Vieux-Fort. The drive between Hewanorra and Castries can take an hour and a half. Helicopter service between the airports shortens travel time.

Ferries run between Castries and Fort-de-France, Martinique. Yachts may dock in Castries, though they must clear customs first. When the customs area is full, yachts must anchor at the quarantine dock to wait; those that do not are fined. Afterward, yachts may anchor in front of Castries Town or Vigie Creek.

Standard bus routes run from Castries to all outlying districts on the island. The buses are private (not subsidized by government) bearing green license plates with numbers that start with an Mfor example, M456. The buses line up in designated areas to pick up passengers. The bus fronts displays a route band, a luminescent sign that indicates which part of the island the bus is traveling to.


Political institutions

As well as being the capital city of Saint Lucia, Castries hosts the secretariat of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.[10] Castries also hosts the headquarters of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

In October 2008, the American Chamber of Commerce, Saint Lucia, was established. The establishment of a chamber was encouraged by the U.S. Embassy, Barbados. Hugh W. Jones was elected and installed as its first president.

The mayor of Castries is Geraldine Lendor-Gabriel, who took office in September 2021.[11]

A number of international embassies and consulates keep their headquarters in Castries. They include the Organization of American States, British High Commission, Mexican Embassy, embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (in Rodney Bay), Dominican Republic Consulate, French Embassy, Italian Vice Consulate, Jamaican Consulate, Netherlands Consulate, Norwegian Consulate, Brazilian Embassy and Venezuelan Embassy.

Panorama of the Port of Castries from Morne Fortune
Panorama of the Port of Castries

See also

References

  1. "Castries City Council - St Lucia". Archived from the original on 2009-09-28. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  2. "Weather in Castries. Current weather | lc.freemeteo.com". Freemeteo.com. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  3. "Castries". GeoNames. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  4. "Map of Castries". The Central Statistical Office of Saint Lucia. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  5. Law, Gwillim (2015). "Districts of Saint Lucia". Statoids. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  6. Harmsen, Jolien; Ellis, Guy; Devaux, Robert (2014). A History of St Lucia. Vieux Fort: Lighthouse Road. p. 23,43–44,52,163. ISBN 9789769534001.
  7. Hubbard, Vincent (2002). A History of St. Kitts. Macmillan Caribbean. p. 117. ISBN 9780333747605.
  8. "The Top 10 Things to Do in Castries, St. Lucia". Travel Tips - USA Today. Retrieved 2023-01-04.
  9. "SLASPA - George F.L. Charles Airport". SLASPA. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  10. "OECS - Secretariat" (PDF). OECS. November 4, 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 4, 2023. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  11. "New mayor, councillors sworn in" (Press release). Office of the Prime Minister. 2 September 2021. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.