A Port of Spain buildings “gingerbread” and the modern buildings are interspersed with rickety stalls and old dilapidated shops, telling a long and troubled history of colonialism, which have been grafted the independence and the new wealth derived from oil. All the different elements of the heterogeneous social fabric of Trinidad and Tobago are gathered together in the capital, creating an image that, while full of contrasts and conflicts, is an inexhaustible source of points of interest. Port of Spain is a city that invites walking, boasting a central location lively and crowded sidewalks, parks and green gardens, and around the time of Carnival turns into a real supermarket of music, with performances organized and improvised every night for three weeks in every corner.
Up to 1757 Puerto de los Hispanoles was nothing but a small fishing village, a handful of mud huts surrounded by hills and swamps, not suitable for the residence of a governor, who in fact lived in St. Joseph, 20 kilometers away. However, having aroused little interest in the Spanish authorities, the old capital began to present a series of problems, forcing Don Pedro de la Moneda to move elsewhere. In many respects, Port of Spain is today a very chaotic, a feature that arises from the peculiarities of its historic events. The city, in fact, became the capital of the country, almost by chance, buying atmosphere frontier town gradually that people of different races and cultures flowed there, willy-nilly, in search of new horizons.
More than any other place in Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain shows clear evidence of the wide variety of races, religions and cultures in the country. Just take a walk downtown at lunch to find themselves immersed in a multi-ethnic, including European, African, Indian and Middle Eastern. The surrounding hills of Nothern Range instead represent the element of contact with the past, as evidenced by four strong that mark the original boundaries of the city, Fort George, Fort Picton, Fort and Fort St. Andres Chacon. The first, built in 1805 by Governor Hislop on the hills overlooking St. James, northwest of the center, has been recently restored and partly rebuilt, but you can still see the original prisons and cannons lined up on the ramparts. Together with the previous, Fort Picton in the hills of Laventille, is one best viewpoint in the city, while both of the other two forts dating back to the period of Spanish rule, having been built in 1770 (Fort Chacon) and in 1887 (Fort St. Andres).
In 1816 he was drawn Independence Square, currently fulcrum of business and trade nationally and internationally. In the southern part there are some buildings of great importance for the life of the country, such as the Financial Complex and Textel, in addition to the Express office and many shops. The Financial Complex is the building that appears on the last notes of Trinidad and Tobago, hosting inside the Central Bank of T & T and the Ministry of Finance. The complex, which opened in 1985, was designed by a team of local architects and cost $ 400 million local distinctive elements are the two towers of 22 floors each, which display works of painters and sculptors of the island. Taking Independence Square to the north is the huge Treasury Building, once the headquarters of the Central Bank, and the central offices of Customs and Excise. Right in the middle of the eastern sector, however, there is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, one of two impressive cathedrals built, thanks to the initiative of the British Governor Sir Ralph Woodford.
The heart of the shopping is Frederick Street, an endless succession of department stores provided with goods from all over the world. Among the major shopping centers include Stephens & Johnson, Y. de Lima and Kirpalanis, without forgetting the Colsort Mall, famous for its numerous shops, stores of shoes and textiles, and Maraj, where you can buy “duty free” items of gold, silver, diamonds and precious stones transformed into delicious jewelry that reproduce local motifs and designs. At the corner of Frederick and Queen Street, the first street you come to going north, there is a vast conglomeration of small wooden hut that bears the name of Frederick Street Mall, but the stores continue almost without interruption until the height of Woodford Square.
Center of town life, Woodford Square is the main route linking the western and eastern sectors of Port of Spain. The square is teeming with activity both day and night, when tourists flock under the facade of Trinity Cathedral to take some pictures. Looking west from the cathedral you can see the Red House, where they meet the Houses of Parliament, while the corner of Knox Street stands the City Hall, housed in a building opened in 1961 to replace the original destroyed by fire in year ’40. Adjacent to the Capitol is the Trinidad Public Library, and behind this the small church of St. John the Baptist, built in 1854 by George Sherman Cowan, a British missionary sent to Trinidad by Lady Mico Charity to provide adequate education to children of former slaves.
The main museum in Port of Spain is the National Museum and Art Gallery, an institution which began as the Museum of Arts and Sciences in 1892 under the name of Victoria Institute, to commemorate the jubilee of Queen Victoria. Destroyed by fire in 1920, the museum was rebuilt in 1923 and now houses a heterogeneous collection of Amerindian artifacts, lithographs of the old town by Michel Cazabon, various works of local contemporary artists and a section of the oil industry island. There are also examples of internationally renowned artists such as Carlisle Chang, Leroy Clarke, Ralph and Vera Baney, Nina Squires and Dermot Lousion. Leaving the museum, on the right there is the Memorial Park, dedicated to the soldiers of Trinidad who died in two world wars, although the beautiful city park is undoubtedly the Queen’s Park, popularly known by the name of Savannah, which extends from across the street at the north end of Memorial Park. The “Queen’s Park” also includes the Botanic Gardens and the Emperor Valley Zoo, where they crowd especially families with small children.
The buildings around the Savannah is extraordinary, an impressive array of styles ranging from casually Scottish castle to the Moorish palace, offering visitors a fascinating insight into the cultural influences and architectural trends that have taken place in the last century. Along a stretch of Maraval Road, which runs along the western side of the park, there are seven of these buildings known as the “Magnificent Seven” or “Queens of Bands”. Six of them date back to 1904 and between them are the Killarney, a reproduction of Balmoral Castle designed by Scottish architect Robert Giles Family Stollmeyer, Whitehall, in Venetian style and now houses the offices of the Prime Minister’s, Archbishop’s House, residence of the Catholic Archbishop of Port of Spain, and Roomor, a baroque residence built by a wealthy planter, Lucien F. Ambard, with a great show of Italian marble and French ceramics. The last of the “Magnificent Seven” is the Queen’s Royal College, a male secondary education in German Renaissance style made of concrete covered with limestone and blue painted part of a reddish color, which creates a nice contrast.
The climate is tropical, hot and humid throughout the year, during which the average monthly temperature remains almost constant around 25 degrees. The hottest months are May, June and between September and November, when the average values vary between 32 and 22 degrees, while those in which temperatures drop slightly are January, February and March. The rainy season runs from June to December and from January to May rainfall is almost non-existent, although rare, hurricanes are a risk that hovers over Port of Spain during the wet season.
The city’s airport is Piarco International Airport, an airport located 25 km east of the city center and well connected to several destinations in the U.S, but also Europe. The urban public transport consists of several buses lines, although during rush hour the roads and highways are often congested due to heavy traffic. To get to Scarborough Tobago and you can take a ferry.
Originally posted 2012-10-09 18:23:48.