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Castries , population 20,000, aggl. 53,639, is the
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case is the distinction between the letters Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol ...
and largest city of
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group ...

Saint Lucia
, an island country in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
. The quarter with the same name had a population of 70,000 on 22 May 2013 and stretches over an area of . Castries is in a flood plain and is built on
reclaimed land Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, and also known as land fill (not to be confused with a waste landfill A landfill site, also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump, or dumping ground, is a site for the disposal of wast ...
. It houses the seat of government and the head offices of many of foreign and local businesses. The city's design is in a grid pattern. Its sheltered harbour receives cargo vessels, ferry boats, and cruise ships. It houses
duty-free File:Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport, Departure Hall.jpg, Duty-free stores at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel in Oslo, Norway Duty-free shops (or stores) are retailing, retail outlets whose goods are exempt from the payment of certain local ...
shopping facilities such as Point Seraphine and La Place Carenage. Many restaurants offer menus from local to Chinese. Supermarkets and other shopping facilities provide goods. The city is well served by a bus system and taxi service. St Lucia's main post office is in Castries. Because most parts of the country do not use standard street addresses, mail is largely sent to P.O. boxes. Any mail sent without a town name ends up in the Castries post office. Castries is the birthplace of Arthur Lewis, winner of the 1979 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, as well as of
Derek Walcott Sir Derek Alton Walcott (23 January 1930 – 17 March 2017) was a Saint Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, terr ...

Derek Walcott
, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature.


History

In 1650, the fort ''aupres du Petit Cul-de-Sac et de la riviere du Carénage'' was founded by a group of 40 Frenchmen led by de Rousselan, when
St. Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country in the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. The island was previously called Iyonola, the name given to the island by the native Arawaks, ...

St. Lucia
was purchased by Capt. du Parquet and Monsieur Houel from the
French West India Company The French West India Company (french: Compagnie française des Indes occidentales) was a French trading company founded on 28 May 1664, some 3 months before the foundation of its eastern company, by Jean-Baptiste Colbert Jean-Baptiste Colbert (; ...
. 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. 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''. During World War II on 9 March 1942, the German U-161 sailed into Castries harbor at night and sank two allied ships, including the Canadian
ocean liner An ocean liner is a passenger ship primarily used as a form of transportation across seas or oceans. Liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes (such as for pleasure cruises or as hospital ships). Cargo ve ...
RMS ''Lady Nelson'', which was subsequently refloated in the harbour and taken to Canada to be converted to a
hospital ship A hospital ship is a ship designated for primary function as a floating healthcare, medical treatment facility or hospital. Most are operated by the military forces (mostly navy, navies) of various countries, as they are intended to be used in or ...
. Castries has been rebuilt many times, following major fires on 15 October 1805, 6 April 1813, and most notably on 19 June 1948.


Tourism

One of the major tourist areas in St. Lucia, Castries is a port of call for
cruise ship Cruise ships are large passenger ship A passenger ship is a merchant ship whose primary function is to carry passengers on the sea. The category does not include cargo ship, cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of pas ...

cruise ship
s. They dock at Pointe Seraphine, to the north of the harbour. Castries has landmarks, such as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Derek Walcott Square (renamed from Columbus Square to honor the island's Nobel Prize-winning poet,
Derek Walcott Sir Derek Alton Walcott (23 January 1930 – 17 March 2017) was a Saint Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, terr ...

Derek Walcott
), the City Library, the Government House, and Fort Charlotte, at the top of Morne Fortune (an hill). Beaches include
Vigie Beach Vigie Beach is located 2 km north of Castries District, Saint Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial bod ...
, Malabar Beach, Choc Beach, and La Toc Beach.


Transport

Castries is served by George F. L. Charles Airport, also known as Vigie Airport. Passengers on longer flights arrive at
Hewanorra International Airport Hewanorra International Airport , located near Vieux Fort Quarter Vieux Fort is a Districts of Saint Lucia, district located in the southern part of Saint Lucia. Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia, Vieux Fort is also the name of the main town in the dis ...
, near . 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 Fort-de-France (, , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar a ...

Fort-de-France
,
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and ...

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 ''M''—for 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. To get to other areas, one can use the buses or the taxi service, which have blue license plates. Private minivan buses offer transportation from bus stops and can be flagged down on the roadside. Buses are the most affordable, local way of getting around St Lucia and great way to experience island life, although many attractions and parts of the island are not serviced by public transportation. Privately owned and operated 14–seater minivans with green “M” license plates run individual routes between major communities. There is no schedule, simply wave them down along the main road and pay when you get off, unless the driver collects the fare before leaving. Within larger communities, there are specific bus stops, and buses will not depart until they are full. You may have to wait up to 30 minutes, and in most places public transportation stops after 6 pm.


Political institutions

As well as being the capital city of Saint Lucia, Castries hosts the secretariat of the
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS; French: ''Organisation des États de la Caraïbe orientale'', OECO) is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal ri ...

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
. Castries also hosts the headquarters of the
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is a superior Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy) In a hierarchy A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, cat ...
. 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 Peterson Francis, who took office in August 2016. A number of international embassies and consulates keep their headquarters in Castries. They include the
Organization of American States The Organization of American States (OAS; es, Organización de los Estados Americanos, pt, Organização dos Estados Americanos, french: Organisation des États américains; ''OEA'') is an international organization An international organi ...

Organization of American States
,
British High Commission A British High Commission is a British diplomatic mission, equivalent to an embassy A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of people from one state or an organization present in another state to represent the sending state or ...
, , embassy of the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...

Republic of China
(Taiwan) (in
Rodney Bay Rodney Bay is a town and bay located in the Gros Islet Quarter, Gros Islet District on the island of Saint Lucia. Gros Islet Quarter, Gros Islet is one of the ten districts in the island. It can be found on the northwestern coast of the island ab ...
), Dominican Republic Consulate, , Italian Vice Consulate, Jamaican Consulate, Netherlands Consulate, Norwegian Consulate, Brazilian Embassy and Venezuelan Embassy.


See also

*
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS; French: ''Organisation des États de la Caraïbe orientale'', OECO) is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal ri ...

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
*
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is a superior Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy) In a hierarchy A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, cat ...


References


External links

*
Interactive tour of St. Lucia's History and Culture
Official site for St. Lucia Tourist Board

site owned by SOS Charity UK {{Authority control Towns in Saint Lucia Capitals in the Caribbean Populated places established in 1650 Martinique–Saint Lucia border crossings Port cities in the Caribbean 1650 establishments in the French colonial empire 1650 establishments in North America Populated coastal places in Saint Lucia