Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, Saint Kitts and Nevis
My wife and I had the pleasure of touring the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park during our visit to St. Kitts. The Fortress itself was a highlight of the tour and is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Fortress is also called the "The Gibraltar of the West Indies", meaning it is supposedly invulnerable. The Fortress is set high up the hill giving it some incredible views that also means a military advantage of seeing the enemy coming.
The fort was abandoned by the British in 1853, until 1973 when it was restored and later declared a National Park in 1987. In 1999 it became a World Heritage Site. The fortress was constructed during a hundred year period from 1690-1790; using slave labor for construction. The fortress is constructed mostly of limestone and mortar which must have been quite the undertaking without modern construction equipment and the steepness of the hill.
My wife and I began our tour by walking up the Alphabet Steps ( a series of 26 steps) leading up to the fortress itself. Our tour allowed us to explore the Citadel, Western Place of Arms, Eastern Place of Arms, Magazine Bastion, Orillon Bastion, the quarters and Fort George Museum. My wife and I are military history buffs and thoroughly enjoyed our explorations.
The best part of this tour are the amazing panoramic views of the area. We had a bit of a cloudy day so the view was not as perfect as it can be; but the views were still specatcular to us. This was a highlight of the visit for both of us. If we visit the island again; I will definitely return here.
**There is an admission fee: Residents - $6.00 E.C ; Visitors - $10.00 U.S and Children - Half Price. Our admission fee was included in the tour price. If you would like an audio guide; they are available for rent at $5 a set. There is also a small girft shop, cafe selling drinks and food items and restrooms available by the carpark.**
The only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the small Antilles can be found on the island of Saint Kitts. It clearly is the main attraction of the island, but still it is hardly discovered by mass tourism. The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is an absolute must-see during your stay on Saint Kitts.
The Fortress is situated at about 12 kilometres northwest from the capital Basseterre. When you look up from the road along the coastline you can already see some walls on top of the hill, but from here you can't imagine the beauty you'll find up there. It takes a short taxi-ride or a 15 minutes walk to get to the entrance and from there you'll get more amazed by every step you take.
Cannons facing the sea, great views of the neighbouring islands Statia, Saba and Saint-Martin, and the beautiful blue sea and the green fields below you. But even more impressive are the all the old remains you can find here: old barracks, guard-towers, castles, gates and other buildings. The dark stones that are made to build them make a brilliant contrast with the green surroundings.
The history of the Brimstone Hill Fortress dates back to the 18th century when the Brittish built it to protect the island from French attacks. A few times it changed owner, but in 1782 it finally came back into Brittish hands and in 1850 it was finally abandoned. After thorough restaurations it was officially reopened in 1985 by Queen Elisabeth and nowadays it is not only a National Park, but it's also on the famous UNESCO-list.
As the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Leeward Islands, Brimstone Hill Fortress is justifiably popular with history buffs. But even those not particularly interested in history will find exploring this rambling 18th-century compound enjoyable and educational. Dubbed the “Gibraltar of the West Indies,” the fort offers an insightful look into Caribbean history as well as some truly fantastic panoramic views. It’s also as good a place as any to see the introduced Green Vervet Monkeys up close and personal.
History buffs will appreciate the magnificence of Brimstone Hill Fortress. It was constructed between the 1690's and 1790's so you can feel the old world military presence here. All the cannon's were flown in to reconstruct the true feeling of the fortress.
Also, the views are magnificent, we were in awe. If you go to St. Kitts, make it a point to visit here. Also, one of the differences when visiting here, as opposed to say "the Alamo in San Antonio", is that you can go everywhere and touch everything. None of it is blocked or cordoned off. Really cool...
Entrance fees are $8 per person, children are half price.
Situated 800 feet above the sea, Brimstone is one of the most dramatic spots in the entire Caribbean. It commands astounding views of the Caribbean, including Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, St. Martin and St. Barts. But the best I was able to do was to snatch a few pictures out the window of the van because our tour did not include it..
In February of 1782, a French fleet commanded by Admiral Count François de Grasse had orders to force the British from St. Kitts - the same admiral who had earlier helped the English colony now known as the United States to gain their independence.
His flagship was the 130-gun Ville de Paris. He had to take the massive Fort George on Brimstone Hill. At this time, the citadel had been under nearly continuous construction (by slave labor) for almost nine decades. A month of bombardment pounding the seven-foot thick walls of black volcanic stone (brimstone) led to the English surrender. One year later, the Treaty of Versailles returned St. Kitts to British rule.
Brimstone Hill was abandoned in 1851, and the fort suffered neglect and vandalism. In 1965, it became a national park, and was restored.
Hours : Sunday - Saturday 9.30 - 5.30
Fees : Residents - $5.00 E.C
Visitors - $8.00 U.S
Children - Half Price
Tours of Brimstone Hill are conducted daily, and highlights include the hospital, ammunition stores, artillery officer's quarters, the Prince of Wales Bastion, and the Citadel of Fort George.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING
The water at the Hill is not safe for drinking.
Children must be supervised and escorted around the citadel, museum and visitors' centre. It is dangerous for children to be unaccompanied by adults around Fort George (the citadel).
All visitors must abide by the Regulations against:
· removing any plant, animal or object
· cutting or injuring any plant or animal
· damaging or defacing any structure (such as carving or writing graffiti)
· playing or reproducing loud music or amplified sounds
· abusive language and other forms of disorderly conduct
Brimstone Hill Fortress is a National Park located in St Kitts. Preserved by UNESCO as a world heritage site. This site, built by the British Military between the 17th and 18th century is one of St Kitts finest attractions. Captivating, educational and provides a great half day visit.
My visit prior to this was in 1984 or thereabouts where i was only 2 years old! I don't remember the visit, but I have a picture to prove it.. I attempted to take another picture in the same location on my visit.. but I was taking the picture myself, so wasn't too successful.
I visited on a Sunday morning where most of the locals were seen carrying their books to church on the drive there. It is a steep drive up to the main entrance of the fortress where I was welcomed by several wild monkeys, cats and two cows. I was personally shown around by this gentleman who claimed to have worked there for nearly 20 years, although he looked particularly young ( he was also single and I think possibly hoping I would migrate there..) I particularly enjoyed the breathtaking views the fortress offered including the surrounding islands.
Well worth the visit.
The spectacular Brimstone Hill Fortress is not only a National Park but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because of its historical significance. Perched high on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the forboding mass of Brimstone Hill Fort has been called "The Gibralter of the Caribbean." Construction of the fort began under British rule in 1690, and took a century to complete, mostly with African slave labor. The huge fort, with its five bastions and citadel, covers 38 acres, and is one of the largest engeering projects even undertaken in the Caribbean. The fort eventually became obsolete and was abandoned in 1852. However, extensive restoration work began in the 1960s, and it was reopened as a national park in 1982.
Open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Adults: US $8.00
Children: US $4.00
Here's a shot inside Brimstone Hill Fortress. Have you seen the movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean?" Does this look familiar to you? I'm not sure if this was the location for the film or not, but it looks like the fortress where Elizabeth fainted and fell into the water. Anyway, this was a really cool look into history.
This is a gothic looking structure...almost castle-like in architecture inside built around the end of the 17th century. The views from the top of this fortress is stunning! I think I counted 6 islands from the top of the fortress. I recommend a visit here....but beware....for those who aren't in decent physical condition...there are a LOT of stairs to get to the top. The view is well worth it, though.
The major stop on any tour of St. Kitts. This historic monument, among the largest and best preserved in the Caribbean, is a complex of bastions, barracks, and other structures ingeniously adapted to the top and upper slopes of a steep-sided 800-foot (240m) hill. The fortress dates from 1690, when the British attempted to recapture Fort Charles from the French.
Today, the fortress is the centerpiece of a national park of nature trails and a diverse range of plant and animal life, including the green vervet monkey. It's also a photographer's paradise, with views of mountains, fields, and the Caribbean Sea. On a clear day, you can see six neighboring islands.
Visitors will enjoy self-guided tours among the many ruined or restored structures, including the barrack rooms at Fort George, which comprise an interesting museum. The gift shop stocks prints of rare maps and paintings of the Caribbean. Admission is $5, half price for children. The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is open daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm.
The Brimstone Hill Fortress is a must-see. There are cannons everywhere and alot of history to learn about. I just loved the view. The mountains reminded me of The Sound of Music!!
Great photo spot, the history of the location.
Here's another view from the top of the fortress. St. Kitts was so beautiful. We really enjoyed our visit. The locals were pretty nice, too.