Wordtravels

Wordtravels

 

Citadelle Laferrière

Citadelle La Ferriere © Stefan Krasowski
Citadelle La Ferriere © Stefan Krasowski

The Citadelle Laferrière was built in the first part of the 19th century after the country won its independence from France. Near Cap-Haïtien, it is perched atop a mountain that is five miles (8km) uphill from the nearest town, a edifice that was never fully used and is long abondoned.

The eerie atmosphere of the place is only enhanced by the fact that it is overgrown and forgotten, with moss and weeds reclaiming the staircases, courtyards and rooms; you get the impression that everything has been waiting, ready for war, for a very long time.

The fortress has 365 cannons and numerous cannonballs, as well as dungeons, storehouses, cisterns and bakery ovens. There are some signs and information available, but it is not comprehensive and it is best to hire one of the local guides to explain the history of the place.

The views are astounding and on a clear day you can see all the way to Cuba; for photographers the Citadelle is a dream. The roads to this amazing attraction are unfortunately in very bad shape and the trip from Port-au-Prince is rough. Once at the little village beneath the fortress, visitors can either hike or ride horseback up the steep hillside.

Admission: Free entry.