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Castries Heritage Walk - St Lucia Heritage

Duration: Half Day

Castries Heritage Walk - St Lucia Heritage

St Lucia is blessed with a rich heritage as well as outstanding natural beauty, so there is much to discover if you are interested in delving into the island’s history and culture. This fascinating tour will introduce you to the historical treasures of Castries, the capital city and commercial centre of St Lucia. Stroll the streets and admire the old colonial architecture whilst enjoying the vibrant spirit of the Caribbean.

Situated on a sheltered natural harbour and surrounded by verdant green hills, Castries is undoubtedly one of the most beautifully located cities in the Caribbean. Hundreds of holiday makers and day trippers arrive here every day as the deep sea port is used year-round by cruise liners, bringing tourists in their droves to the colourful markets and duty-free shopping malls. If you have time to explore the city further, however, you will find that it has much more to offer besides shopping.

To begin with, Castries is steeped in colonial history. Founded by the French in 1650, the city was originally named "Carénage" (meaning safe anchorage), but was later renamed after the French naval minister Marechal de Castries in 1756. Castries came under British rule in the early 19th century and the town soon became a major naval port. Fortifications were built on Morne Fortune (also known as “Hill of Good Luck”), although some of the most savage Caribbean battles ironically took place here between the French and the British in the 18th century. The mountain boasts spectacular panoramic views of the city and harbour, so it is certainly worth exploring if you have time.

Much of Castries’ original colonial architecture has been destroyed by several major fires over the last few centuries, but a handful of historic landmarks have remained intact, including the 18th century Fort Charlotte, the 19th century Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the Victorian-style Castries Public Library and Government House. The Derek Walcott Square, renamed after the island's Nobel Prize-winning poet in 1993, is also worth a visit as it lined with late 19th and 20th century French-style wooden buildings with picturesque, gingerbread-trim balconies.

If you want to do some shopping whilst you are here, the recently renovated Castries Central market (constructed between 1891 and 1894) and the adjacent vendor’s market sell everything from fresh local produce, herbs, spices and local Creole delicacies to clothing, handmade crafts, jewellery, rugs and many other gifts and souvenirs. Soak up the colourful sights and aromas as you watch people hurriedly buying and selling their wares, whilst the infectious rhythms of calypso music fill the air.

Not to be missed during your holiday in St Lucia, this memorable tour is a wonderful opportunity to watch history come alive whilst immersing yourself in the vibrant local culture.

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