St. Kitts and Nevis, the smallest state on the American continent, advertises the "intoxicating, natural beauty of the island, sun, warm water and white sandy beaches". The country, one of the "islands under the wind", plays a minor role among the Caribbean destinations. The main island of St. Kitts measures 168 square kilometers. The neighboring island of Nevis, separated by a three-kilometer-wide canal, covers 93 square kilometers.
With the cruise ship in Port Zante, the cruise port of the island's capital Basseterre arriving visitors are faced with the choice of how to approach the stopover on St. Kitts. Those day guests who have booked tours on board the ships will entrust themselves to the organizers of these excursions. Individualists get into one of the waiting taxis and can be brought to the few sights and / or plan a trip with the St Kitts Scenic Railway. At the end of the visiting day, both groups of visitors should find that they saw almost the same thing. Day visitors definitely don't have the time to visit the neighboring island of Nevis.
St. Kitts - Day visitors in Port Zante
A taxi tour takes around three hours. The focus of the excursion is the fortress located in the northwest of the island Brimstone Hill Fortress. The citadel, ennobled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 243 meters high above the sea. It is the most important and imposing historical complex on the island and one of the most remarkable buildings in the Caribbean.
Construction began in the 1690s and took almost 100 years to complete. The initiative to build the fortress came from the French. However, the fame of having built this huge defensive structure belongs to the English. Erected on the steep slopes of Brimstone Hill, it is an expression of the ingenuity of British engineers and the strength and endurance of African labor slaves. For the fortress walls, volcanic rock was used, which was extracted in laborious work. The fortress was used until 1851.
Excursion buses and taxis stop at a parking lot below the citadel. From there a steep climb leads up stairs to the fortress. In 2015, entry cost 27 East Caribbean dollars; this is equivalent to 10 US dollars. The view from the top is excellent. On a clear day you can see the surrounding, distant Dutch, English and French islands.
About three kilometers away from the fort are on the edge of the central mountains Wingfield Estate plantations and Romney Manor. - The Wingfield Estate dates back to 1625. It is considered to be the first functioning tobacco and sugar plantation. Since the raw material sugar cane was available in sufficient quantities, rum was also conveniently produced. Guided tours offer insights into the production methods that were common hundreds of years ago. Relics of that time can still be seen today, as can the remains of the rum distillery from the 17th century.
Wingfield Estate is adjacent to Romney Manor. It was named after the descendants of the Earl of Romney. The English counts established a prosperous plantation on the spot. From 1735 on it resided on both plantations. After the abolition of slavery in the 19th century and the advent of competing, cheaper European beet sugar, the plantations in the Caribbean began to deteriorate. So does Romney Manor.
Employees of the company have been producing since 1974 Caribelle batik Batik products in the former manor house. A beautiful 2½ hectare botanical garden full of tropical flowers and animals delights the visitors. In the center is a gnarled rain tree from 350 to 400 years old. Behind the property begins the rainforest, which extends the slopes of the Mount Liamuiga pulls up. The extinct volcano Liamuiga is the highest mountain on the island at 1.156 meters.
As a result of the permanent influx of European settlers and the establishment of tobacco and sugar cane plantations, the habitat of the indigenous Indian population became scarcer. This gathered fighters from St. Kitts and the neighboring islands to attack the European settlements and to drive the Europeans out. The British and French, who were not well disposed towards each other, allied and gathered troops only a few years after the start of the conquest in 1626. By using firearms, these were clearly superior to the Caribs. According to hearsay, the Europeans lost about 100 men; however, on the side of the natives, 2.000 fighters fell in one day. The place of the terrible happening is with bloody point designated. The bloody river into the sea. According to legend, three days after the end of the fighting it was stained red by the blood of the massacred Indians.
St Kitts - Bloody River
The small town lies between Basseterre and Brimstone Hill Fortress Old Road Town. The first Europeans from the Caribbean settled here. Until 1727 the place was the island's capital. The first, small group of settlers was led by Sir Thomas Warner. His bones are in the church Saint Thomas Anglican Church to bury.
St Kitts - St Thomas Anglican Church in Old Road Town
Not necessarily a sight, but a ride on the is a pleasant pleasure St Kitts Scenic Railway. The narrow-gauge railway was built along the coast between 1912 and 1926 to transport sugar cane from the plantations to Basseterre for further processing. After the cessation of freight traffic, tourists travel in comfortable double-decker wagons through the lush landscape, past the ruins of the plantations. In the lower part the wagons are closed, in the upper part there is an open platform. A tarpaulin protects against the sun and any tropical downpours. Each car has a bar and toilet. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are served in sufficient numbers during the journey. Those who book the trip travel 12 miles by bus and 18 miles by train. Pleasure doesn't come cheap. The travel costs in 2015 are around 100 US dollars.
Day guests who don't have Basseterre come out, perceive the capital with around 13.000 inhabitants as a typical Caribbean city. A pier where two cruise ships can moor, next to it a marina and the pier for ferry traffic.
Behind the massive yellow painted gate building of the cruise terminal lies The Circus. Its name is explained by the country's colonial English past. The square, surrounded by buildings, was modeled on Piccadilly Circus with Victorian patriotism. In the middle of the square is the green one Berkeley Memorial. The clock tower was built to honor Thomas BH Berkeley, President of the General Legislative Council.
St Kitts - Basseterre - Berkeley Memorial
The former is at the circus Old Treasury Building. After the abolition of slavery, Portuguese workers were recruited from the island of Madeira to continue farm work. Planters had to leave a deposit in the “treasury” for each worker in order to cover the costs of the return transport of the workers at the end of the contractually regulated servitude. However, since only a few workers traveled back, a considerable amount of capital accumulated over the years, which was used for the new building of the treasury, which began in 1894. The building has housed the since 2002 National Museum.
St Kitts - Basseterre - National Museum
The originally Pall Mall Square named park in the city center was opened in 1983 after gaining political independence in independence square renamed. The slaves arriving by ship were housed in Pall Mall Square and then sold. In the center of the park is a fountain adorned by three allegorical women and a child. It is a reminder of the central fresh water supply that was introduced in Basseterre after 1855.
After the English gained control of St. Kitts in 1713, Roman Catholics were prohibited by law from practicing their beliefs. Other types of reprisals followed. It was not until 1829 that these restrictions were lifted. The Catholic faith quickly regained importance, especially the steady influx of job-seeking immigrants from Madeira, Portugal, made the Catholic community grow. In the middle of the 19th century, the Church of the Immaculate Conception built and replaced by today's church in 1927. The church was promoted to co-cathedral.
At the Anglican Square St. George's Anglican Church first stood the church built by the Jesuits during the French occupation Our Lady. It burned down in 1706 when English and French troops were at war. In their place St. George's was built with Anglican austerity.
St. Kitts - Basseterre - St. George's Anglican Church
A pretty Loading zone opens from the port exit towards the city.
St. Kitts - Basseterre - row of shops in front of the harbor entrance