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Ville de Port-au-Prince
View of Port-au-Prince (Prior to January 2010)
Map of Haiti with Port-au-Prince shown
Coordinates: 18°32′N 72°20′W / 18.533°N 72.333°W / 18.533; -72.333
Country  Haiti
Department Ouest
Arrondissement Port-au-Prince
Founded 1749
Colonial seat 1770
Government
 - Mayor Jean Yves Jason
Area
 - City 38.19 km2 (14.7 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 - City 1,082,800
 Density 28,353/km2 (73,433.9/sq mi)
 Metro 1,728,100
Aerial view, 3D computer generated image. January 27, 2010.
Early map of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, circa 1639.

Port-au-Prince (pronounced /ˌpɔrtoʊˈprɪns/; French pronunciation: [pɔʁopʁɛ̃s]; Haitian Creole: Pòtoprens; Haitian Creole pronunciation: [pɔtopɣɛ̃s]) is the capital and largest city of the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The city's official population was 704,776 as of the 2003 census.[1]

The city of Port-au-Prince faces the Gulf of Mexico, at 18°32′N 72°20′W / 18.533°N 72.333°W / 18.533; -72.333. The bay on which the city lies, which acts as a natural harbor, has sustained economic activity since the civilizations of the Arawaks. It was first incorporated under the colonial rule of the French, in 1749, and has been Haiti's largest metropolis since then. The city's layout is similar to that of an amphitheatre; commercial districts are near the water, while residential neighborhoods are located on the hills above. Its population is difficult to ascertain due to the rapid growth of slums in the hillsides above the city; however, recent estimates place the metropolitan area's population at between 2.5 and 3 million people.

Port-au-Prince was catastrophically affected[2] by the January 12 2010 earthquake, with large numbers of structures damaged or destroyed. Haiti's government has estimated the death toll at 230,000 and says more bodies remain uncounted.[3]

Contents

History

Prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus, the island of Hispaniola was inhabited by people known as the Taíno, who arrived in approximately 2600 BC in large dugout canoes. They are believed to come primarily from what is now eastern Venezuela. By the time Columbus arrived in 1492 AD, the region was under the control of Bohechio, Taíno cacique of Xaragua.[4] He, like his predecessors, feared settling too close to the coast—such settlements would have proven to be tempting targets for the Caribes, who lived on neighboring islands. Instead, the region served as a hunting ground. The population of the region was approximately 400,000 at the time, but the Taínos were gone within 30 years of the arrival of the Spaniards.[5]

With the arrival of the Spaniards, the Amerindians were forced to accept a protectorate, and Bohechio, childless at death, was succeeded by his sister, Anacaona, wife of the cacique Caonabo. Anacaona tried to maintain cordial relations with the Spaniards, but this proved to be difficult, as the latter came to insist upon larger and larger tributes. Eventually, the Spanish colonial administration decided to rule directly, and in 1503, Nicolas Ovando, then governor, set about to put an end to the régime headed by Anacaona. He invited her and other tribal leaders to a feast, and when the Amerindians had drunk a good deal of wine -- the Spaniards did not drink on that occasion—he ordered most of the guests killed. Anacaona was spared, though only to be hanged publicly some time later. Through violence and disease, the Spanish settlers decimated the native population.

Direct Spanish rule over the area having been established, Ovando founded a settlement not far from the coast (west of Etang Saumâtre), ironically named Santa Maria de la Paz Verdadera, which would be abandoned several years later. Not long thereafter, Ovando founded Santa Maria del Puerto. The latter was first burned by French explorers in 1535, then again in 1592 by the English. These assaults proved to be too much for the Spanish colonial administration, and in 1606, it decided to abandon the region.

For more than 50 years, the area that is today Port-au-Prince saw its population drop off drastically. Finally, some buccaneers began to use it as a base, and Dutch merchants began to frequent it in search of leather, as game was abundant there. Around 1650, French pirates, or flibustiers, running out of room on the Île de la Tortue began to arrive on the coast, and established a colony at Trou-Borded. As the colony grew, they set up a hospital not far from the coast, on the Turgeau heights. This led to the region being known as Hôpital.

Although there had been no real Spanish presence in Hôpital for well over 50 years, Spain retained its formal claim to the territory, and the growing presence of the French flibustiers on ostensibly Spanish lands provoked the Spanish crown to dispatch Castilian soldiers to Hôpital to retake it. The mission proved to be a disaster for the Spanish, as they were outnumbered and outgunned, and in 1697, the Spanish government signed the Treaty of Ryswick, renouncing any claims to Hôpital. Around this time, the French also established bases at Ester (part of Petite-Rivière) and Gonaïves.

Ester was a rich village, inhabited by merchants, and equipped with straight streets; it was here that the governor lived. On the other hand, the surrounding region, Petite-Rivière, was quite poor. Following a great fire in 1711, Ester was abandoned. Yet the French presence in the region continued to grow, and not long thereafter, a new city was founded to the south: Léogane.

While the first French presence in Hôpital, the region that was later to contain Port-au-Prince, was that of the flibustiers, as the region became a real French colony, the colonial administration began to worry about the continual presence of these pirates. While useful in repelling Englishmen intent on encroaching upon French territory, they were relatively independent, unresponsive to orders from the colonial administration, and a potential threat to it. Therefore, in the winter of 1707, Choiseul-Beaupré, the governor of the region, sought to get rid of what he saw as a threat. He insisted upon control of the hospital, but the flibustiers refused, considering this humiliating. They proceeded to close the hospital, rather than cede control of it to the governor, and many of them became habitans (farmers) -- the first long-term European inhabitants in the region.

Though the elimination of the flibustiers as a group from Hôpital reinforced the authority of the colonial administration, it also made the region a more attractive target for the English. In order to protect the area, in 1706 a captain named de Saint-André sailed into the bay just below the hospital, in a ship named Le Prince. It is said that M. de Saint-André named the area Port-au-Prince (meaning "Port of the Le Prince"), although the port and the surrounding region continued to be known as Hôpital (however, the islets in the bay had already been known as les îlets du Prince as early as 1680.)

The English did not trouble the area, and various nobles sought land grants from the French crown in Hôpital; the first noble to control Hôpital was Sieur Joseph Randot. Upon his death in 1737, Sieur Pierre Morel gained control over part of the region, with Gatien Bretton des Chapelles acquiring another portion of it.

By this time, the colonial administration was convinced that a capital needed to be chosen, in order better to control the French portion of Santo-Domingo (Hispaniola). For a time, Petit-Goâve and Léogane vied for this honor, but both were eventually ruled out, for various reasons.

Colonial mansion in Port-au-Prince, 18th century.

First of all, neither was centrally located. Petit-Goâve's climate was too malarial, and Léogane's topography made it difficult to defend. Thus, in 1749 a new city was built: Port-au-Prince.

Colonial history

In 1770, Port-au-Prince replaced Cap-Français (the modern Cap-Haïtien) as capital of the colony of Saint-Domingue, and in 1804, it became the capital of newly independent Haïti. Before Haïtian independence, it was captured by British troops on June 4, 1794.

French colonial commissioner Étienne Polverel proclaimed the city Port-Républicain on 23 September 1793 "in order that the inhabitants be kept continually in mind of the obligations which the French revolution imposed on them". It was later renamed Port-au-Prince by Jacques I, emperor of Haïti.[6] When Haiti was divided between a kingdom in the north and a republic in the south, Port-au-Prince was the capital of the republic, under the leadership of Alexandre Pétion. Henri Christophe renamed the city Port-aux-Crimes after the assassination of Jacques I at Pont Larnage (now known as Pont-Rouge, and located north of the city.)

2010 earthquake

Aerial view of earthquake damage in Léogâne, January 2010
The city of Port-au-Prince, with heavily damaged areas highlighted

On 12 January 2010, a 7.0 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, devastating the city. Most of the central historic area of the city was destroyed, including Haiti's prized Cathédrale de Port-au-Prince, the capital building, Legislative Palace (the parliament building), Palace of Justice (Supreme Court building), several ministerial buildings, and at least one hospital.[7] The second floor of the Presidential Palace was thrown into the first floor, and the domes skewed at a severe tilt. The seaport and airport were both damaged, limiting aid shipments. The seaport was severely damaged by the quake[8] and was unable to accept aid shipments for the first week. The airport's control tower was damaged[9] and the US military had to set up a new control center with generators to get the airport prepared for aid flights. Aid has been delivered to Port-au-Prince by numerous nations and voluntary groups as part of a global relief effort. On Wednesday, January 20, 2010, an aftershock rated at a magnitude of 5.9 caused additional damage.[10]

Geography

Urban sprawling in Port-au-Prince.

Metropolitan Port-au-Princedloewr[poq43-=r09-43095-2304 is both dense (7.4 times denser than London)[citation needed] and sprawling due to poor urban planning. Modernization is gradually countering this, however. The metropolitan area is subdivided into various districts (communes). There is a ring of districts that radiates out from the commune of Port-au-Prince. Pétionville is an affluent suburban commune located southeast of the city. Delmas is located directly south of the airport and north of the central city, and the rather poor commune of Carrefour is located southwest of the city. Port-au-Prince commune harbors many low-income slums plagued with poverty and violence in which the most notorious, Cité Soleil is situated. However, Cité Soleil has been recently split off from Port-au-Prince proper to form a separate commune. The Champ de Mars area has begun some modern infrastructure development as of recently. The downtown area is the site of several projected modernization efforts in the capital.

Climate

Port-au-Prince features a tropical wet and dry climate and relatively constant temperatures throughout the course of the year. Port-au-Prince’s wet season runs from March through November, though the city experiences a relative break in rainfall during the month of July. The city’s dry season covers the remaining three months. Port-au-Prince generally experiences warm and humid conditions during the dry season and hot and humid conditions during the wet season.

Climate data for Port-au-Prince
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34
(93)
35
(95)
37
(99)
37
(99)
37
(99)
37
(99)
38
(100)
38
(100)
37
(99)
37
(99)
36
(97)
34
(93)
38
(100)
Average high °C (°F) 31
(88)
31
(88)
32
(90)
32
(90)
32
(90)
33
(91)
34
(93)
34
(93)
33
(91)
32
(90)
31
(88)
31
(88)
32
(90)
Average low °C (°F) 20
(68)
20
(68)
21
(70)
22
(72)
22
(72)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
22
(72)
22
(72)
21
(70)
22
(72)
Record low °C (°F) 17
(63)
16
(61)
16
(61)
16
(61)
19
(66)
19
(66)
19
(66)
20
(68)
19
(66)
19
(66)
18
(64)
16
(61)
16
(61)
Precipitation mm (inches) 33
(1.3)
58
(2.28)
86
(3.39)
160
(6.3)
231
(9.09)
102
(4.02)
74
(2.91)
145
(5.71)
175
(6.89)
170
(6.69)
86
(3.39)
33
(1.3)
1,353
(53.27)
Source: BBC Weather [11] 2010-1-31

Demographics

The slums of Cité Soleil.
Residential district

The population of the Port-au-Prince metro area is greater than 2 million. The majority of the population is of African descent, but a prominent multiracial minority controls many of the city's businesses. There are sizable numbers of Hispanic residents, as well as small numbers of Caucasians (mostly foreign-born). Citizens of Middle Eastern (particularly Syrian and Lebanese) ancestry are a tiny minority with a significant presence in the capital. Arab Haitians (a large number of whom live in the capital) are more often than not, concentrated in financial areas where the majority of them establish businesses. Most of the mulattos in the city are concentrated and reside within wealthier areas of Port-au-Prince.

Economy

Artisan in Port-au-Prince.

Port-au-Prince is one of the nation's largest center of economy and finance. The capitol currently exports its most widely consumed produce of coffee and sugar, and has, in the past, exported other goods, such as shoes and baseballs. Port-au-Prince has food-processing plants as well as soap, textile, and cement factories. Despite political unrest, the city also relies on the tourism industry and construction companies to move its economy. Port-au-Prince was once a popular place for cruises, but has lost nearly all of its tourism, and no longer has cruise ships coming into port.

Though unemployment is very high in Port-au-Prince, it would be more accurate to say that people are underemployed. A person can expect extremely high levels of economic activity throughout the city, especially among people selling goods and services right off the streets. In Simon M. Fass's research book, Political Economy in Haïti: The Drama of Survival, he argues that virtually no one is unemployed in Port-au-Prince's slums, because they would be unable to survive if they were. Port-au-Prince also has several upscale districts in which crime rates are much lower than in the center of the capital.

Port-au-Prince has managed to maintain a tourism industry despite political instability. The Toussaint Louverture International Airport (referred to often as the Port-au-Prince International Airport) is the country's main international gateway for tourists. The Pétionville area of Port-au-Prince is affluent and is generally the most common place for tourists to visit and stay. The vast majority of tourists concentrate their visits around the various cultural sites that exist within the capital, an example being the large number of gingerbread houses.

Health and public safety

There are a number of hospitals including Sacred Heart Hospital Center (CDTI, Centre Hospitalier du Sacre-Coeur).[12] Hopital de l' Universite d'Etat d'Haiti, Centre Obstetrico Gynecologique Isaie Jeanty-Leon Audain,Hopital du Canape-Vert, Hopital Francais (Asile Francais), Hopital Saint Francois de Sales, Hopital-Maternite Sapiens, Hopital OFATMA, Clinique de la Santé, Maternite de Christ Roi, Centre Hospitalier Rue Berne and Maternite Mathieu.[13] After the 2010 Earthquake, two hospitals remained that were operational. The University of Miami in parternship with Project Medishare has created a new hospital to provide inpatient and outpatient care for those impacted by the January 2010 earthquake. This hospital is volunteer staffed and provides level 1 trauma care to Port-au-Prince and the surrounding regions.[14]

Culture

The culture of the city lies primarily in the center around the National Palace as well as its surrounding areas. The National Museum is located in the grounds of the palace, established in 1938. The National Palace was one of the early structures of the city but was destroyed and then rebuilt in 1918. It was destroyed again by the earthquake on 12 January 2010 which collapsed the center's domed roof.

An old gingerbread house in Pacot

Another popular destination in the capital is the Hotel Oloffson, a 19th century gingerbread mansion that was once the private home of two former Haïtian presidents. It has become a popular hub for tourist activity in the central city. The Cathédrale de Port-au-Prince is a famed site of cultural interest and attracts foreign visitors to its Neo-Romantic architectural style.

The Musée d'Art Haïtien du Collège Saint-Pierre contains work from some of the country's most talented artists, and the Musée National is a museum featuring historical artifacts such as King Henri Christophe's actual suicide pistol and a rusty anchor that museum operators claim was salvaged from Christopher Colombus' ship, the Santa María. Other notable cultural sites include the Archives Nationales, and the Bibliothèque Nationale (National library). The city is the birthplace of internationally known naïve artist Gesner Abelard, who was associated with the Centre d' Art.

Government

The Presidential Palace (National Palace) in Port-au-Prince, which was severely damaged by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

The current mayor of Port-au-Prince is Jean Yves Jason, who headed the city at the time of the 2010 earthquake.[15] The city's separate districts (primarily the districts of Delmas, Carrefour, and Pétionville) are all administered by their own local mayors who in turn fall under the jurisdiction of the city's general mayor. The seat of the state, the Presidential Palace, is located in the Champ de Mars plaza of the city. The PNdH (Police Nationale d’Haïti) is the authority governing the enforcement of city laws. The national police force as of recently, have been increasing in number. However because of its ailing ineffectiveness and insufficient manpower, a significant number of UN personnel is present throughout the city as part of the stabilization mission in Haiti.

The Port-au-Prince City Hall was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.[16] Most of the city's other government municipal buildings also collapsed in the earthquake.[16]

Education

Port-au-Prince contains various educational institutions, ranging from small vocational schools to universities. Influential international schools in Port-au-Prince include Union School,[17] founded in 1919, and Quisqueya Christian School,[18] founded in 1974. Both schools offer an American-style pre-college education. French-speaking students can attend the Lycée Français, located in Bourdon. Another school is Anís Zunúzí Bahá'í School north west of Port-au-Prince which opened its doors in 1980[19] which survived the 2010 Haiti earthquake[20] and its staff were cooperating in relief efforts and sharing space and support with neighbors.[21] A clinic was run at the school by a medical team from the United States and Canada.[22] Its classes offered transition from Haitian Creole to the French language but also a secondary language in English.[23] The State University of Haiti (Université d'État d'Haïti in French or UEH), is located within the capital along other universities such as the Quisqueya University and the Université des Caraïbes. There are many other institutions that observe the Haitian scholastic program. Many of them are religious academies led by foreign missionaries from France or Canada. These include Institution Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, École Sainte-Rose-de-Lima, École Saint-Jean-Marie Vianney, Institution du Sacré-Coeur, and Collège Anne-Marie Javouhey.

The Ministry of Education is also located in downtown Port-au-Prince at the Palace of Ministries, adjacent to the National Palace in the Champ de Mars plaza.

The Haïtian Group of Research and Pedagogical Activities (GHRAP) has set up several community centers for basic education. UNESCO’s office at Port-au-Prince has taken a number of initiates in upgrading the educational facilities in Port-au-Prince.

Transportation

All of the major transportation systems in Haiti are located near or run through the capital. Haiti has two main highways that run from one end of the country to the other. The northern highway, Route Nationale #1 (National Highway One), originates in Port-au-Prince, winding through the coastal towns of Montrouis and Gonaïves, before reaching its terminus at the northern port Cap-Haïtien. The southern highway, Route Nationale #2, links Port-au-Prince with Les Cayes via Léogâne and Petit Goâve. Maintenance for these roads lapsed after the 1991 coup, prompting the World Bank to lend USD 50 million designated for road repairs. The project was canceled in January 1999, however, after auditors revealed corruption. Haiti also has a third major highway, the Route Nationale #3, which connects Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien via the towns of Mirebalais and Hinche. This route links the capital and Le Cap to the central plateau; however, due to its poor condition, it sees limited use.

A taptap (shared taxi) in central Port-au-Prince.

The most common form of public transportation in Haiti is the use of brightly painted pickup trucks as taxis called "tap-taps" They are named this because when a passenger needs to be let off they use their coin money to tap the side of the vehicle and the driver usually stops. Most tap-taps are fairly priced at around 1-3 goudes per ride within a city. The catch to the price is that the driver will often fill a truck to maximum capacity, which is nearly 20-30 people.

The seaport, Port international de Port-au-Prince, has more registered shipping than any of the over dozen ports in the country. The port's facilities include cranes, large berths, and warehouses, but these facilities are in universally poor shape. The port is underused, possibly due to the substantially high port fees compared to ports in the Dominican Republic.

The Toussaint Louverture International Airport (Aéroport International Toussaint Louverture), which opened in 1965 (as the François Duvalier International Airport), is located north of the city. It is Haiti's only jetway, and as such, handles the vast majority of the country's international flights.

Sister cities

Port-au-Prince has one sister city:[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ Institut Haïtien de Statistique et d'Informatique, 2003 Census
  2. ^ http://www.startribune.com/world/81268677.html
  3. ^ "Haiti Raises Earthquake's Death Toll to 230,000". 2010-02-09. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=9790622. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  4. ^ Accilien, Cécile; Adams, Jessica; Méléance, Elmide; Jean-Pierre, Ulrick (2006). Revolutionary freedoms: a history of survival, strength and imagination in Haiti. Coconut Creek, Florida: Caribbean Studies Press. pp. 19–23. ISBN 1-58432-293-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=O-p7qRKl_G0C&pg=PA19&dq=Bohechio+Haiti&cd=1#v=onepage&q=Bohechio%20Haiti&f=false. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ Gorry, Conner; Miller, Debra (October 1, 2005). Caribbean Islands. Lonely Planet. pp. 245–246. ISBN 1741040558. http://books.google.com/books?id=JJObOeOb0wEC&pg=PA245&dq=port-au-prince+climate&cd=1#v=onepage&q=port-au-prince%20climate&f=false. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ Jacques Nicolas Léger, Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors (The Neale Pub. Co., 1907), page 66
  7. ^ (French) Haiti Press Network, "Haïti – Séisme : l’ISPAN publie une liste de patrimoines détruits ou endommagés", 30 January 2010 (accessed 1 February 2010)
  8. ^ CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, 18 January 2010
  9. ^ New York Times, "Devastation, Seen From a Ship", Eric Lipton, 13 January 2010 (accessed January 15, 2010)
  10. ^ Bhatt, Aishwarya (2010-01-13). Presidential Palace Ruined in the Earthquake. Over 200,000 dead. thaindian.com, 13 January 2010. Retrieved from http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world/haiti-presidential-palace-ruined-in-the-earthquake_100303424.html.
  11. ^ "Average Conditions Port au Prince, Haiti". BBC Weather. http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/city_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT003200. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  12. ^ Centre Hospitallier du Sacre Coeur
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ "Trapped Haitian Girl Dies Despite Rescue Effort". Associated Press (New York Times). 2010-01-14. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/01/14/world/AP-CB-Haiti-Trapped-Alive.html. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  16. ^ a b Roig-Franzia, Manuel (2010-01-20). "Shattered city government in quake-ravaged Port-au-Prince in need of help itself". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/19/AR2010011904614.html?hpid=topnews. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  17. ^ "Haiti, Port-au-Prince: Union School". Office of Overseas Schools. United States Department of State. 2007-10-26. http://www.state.gov/m/a/os/1550.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  18. ^ "Quisqueya Christian School". Quisqueya Christian School. http://www.quisqueya.org. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  19. ^ "About The School". Anis Zunuzi Baha'i School. Anís Zunúzí Bahá'í School. http://www.angelfire.com/ct/zunuzischool/#about. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  20. ^ Thimm, Hans J. (2010). "Anís Zunúzí Bahá'í School". Facebook Page. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=155485740573. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  21. ^ "New Events and Updates". Projects & Initiatives; Projects we support; Anis Zunuzi School. Mona Foundation. 2009. http://www.monafoundation.org/news-events.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  22. ^ "Amid wreckage in Haiti, new birth brings hope". Bahá'í World News Service (Bahá'i International Community). 5 February 2010. http://news.bahai.org/story/755. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  23. ^ "Development - A look at programs around the world; Americas; Agriculture and forestry;". Bahá'í News (682): p. 4. January 1987. ISSN 0195-9212. http://www.teachingandprojects.com/meansandmaterials.htm. 
  24. ^ "Sister City International Listings". Sister Cities International. http://www.sister-cities.org/directory/. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

North America : Caribbean : Haiti : Port-au-Prince

Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of Haiti.

Understand

Unfortunately a strong quake crush capital and it is no longer safe to travel in the middle of fallen building and damaged city. (There is emergency situation).

Get in

By plane

Port au Prince airport (PAP) is served by several major airlines--Air France, Spirit Air, American Airlines, Copa--and smaller flights from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other spots in the Caribbean. Taxis from the airport to your destination in Port au Prince will be about $20 for standard fare. Try to bargain down to $15. Tap taps going to all places past the airport and will cost about 15 gourdes (less than 50 cents).

By bus

Getting in to the capital by bus is relatively easy from the Dominican Republic, on a bus run by the firm terrabus it costs around $30 and there are 2 daily. Within the country, however, it is a different story. It is no more $30 but $45 one way. ($90 round trip).

  • The Musée du Panthéon National HaïtienFor $1 admission, you will be led on an individual guided tour through a chronology of Haitian history. Each period is divided into a muraled section containing paragon items of that time: the anchor of the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus's flagship, is the centerpiece of the exploration age section.
  • Marche en fer (Iron Market) A densely packed market of vendors selling everything from crafts such as voodoo paraphernalia to fresh food such as turtles. It a challenging, stressful, and maddening place to walk through as throngs of desperate merchants grab you and tight huddle of shoppers, stalls, and moving goods impede your every step, which requires you to swim through humanity. You will find a breathtaking inventory of hand crafted art: sculptures, masks, staves, paintings, globes, tea sets, coconut belts, etc.

Banking

There are at least two banks with ATMs: Scotiabank and Sogebank. The closest Scotiabank to downtown is at the intersection of Blvd Jean Jacques dessalines and Rue Pavee. Even the ATM is closed on Sunday. Banks here close very early, even on the weekdays.

Eat

Eating out in Port-au-Prince is surprisingly expensive. Even at modest restaurants a full plate of food will usually cost around 200 gourdes. A good amount of food from street vendors will even cost up to 100 gourdes.

  • Foodies (near the National Palace) A clean fast food joint serving hamburgers and fries. Expect to spend about 120 goude for a cheeseburger, fries, and drink. Ask for the owner, a Haitain of Lebanese ancestry, who will answer your questions in Brooklyn English.
  • Pizza Garden, one of the best pizzerias in the whole city, although it is hard to find if you do not know its location. There is "Old" Pizza Garden and "New" Pizza Garden, the latter being as a result of a split in co-owners. The décor is typical of a Haitian café, with handcrafted tables and lamps. The atmosphere feels intimate due to the soft lighting. Try the extra cheese pizza.
  • La Souvenance, 48 Rue Geffrard, (509) 257-4813. One of the best restaurants, it features French cuisine, some of it with a Creole twist.

Self Cater

There are grocery stores all over town at least two in the center of town, both located on Capois. The Big Star Market in the Champ de Mars area and the Primera Market nearby the Hotel Olafson.

  • Crémas, an alcoholic beverage made of coconut and vanilla.
  • Rhum Barbancourt
  • Biere Prestige

Sleep

There are not cheap places to stay, just less expensive choices.

  • Wall's Guesthouse A clean secure compound popular with missionaires located in Delmas, a residential neighborhood, far from the action of Port-au-Prince. The electricity is constant and so is the cold water. You may be placed in a room with other people but, considering the low number of visitors, this is unlikely; however, you will be sharing a bathroom. A buffet-style breakfast and dinner are complementary. If you do not mind the toilsome journey from the guesthouse to interesting parts of Port-au-Prince, then consider the place for $30 per person.
  • Palace Hotel The cheapest hotel in the centrally located Champ de Mars. A good choice if you want to stay out late in Champ because the hotel is so easy to return to. A faded grand balcony occupies the entire second floor. There is a vintage feeling of being where aristocrats used to hang out. It is a lonely place as they are almost no other Western travellers. The accommodations are rough: electrity and running water (no hot water) are on and off. The cost of a double can be negotiated down to $40.
  • Hotel Olofson An illustrious hotel with unmistakable past grandeur which has served as a mansion, Marine base, and now a popular hotel for Westerners in Haiti. The guests--such as UN employees, filmmakers, academics--all mingle easily with the owner, Richard, and each other on the front porch. The cost of a single/double is about $70/$80. If you have are traveling with many, consider a suite; they are huge.
  • A recommended guide is Jean Eteme Lundg (cell: 740-0703 or ask for him at the Olafson desk). He charges $15/day. Try to ask for price advice before entering the Iron Market because, he like other guides, don not want to be seen as undermining the merchants.

Stay safe

You should not be outside on the streets after dark unless you are wandering around the busy Champs de Mars area.

  • United States, 229-8000 (fax: 2-229-8028), [1].  edit
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Pronunciation

  • (RP) /ˌpɔːtəʊˈprɪns/, /%pO:t@U"prIns/ or IPA: /ˌpɔːtəʊˈprɛ̃s/, /%pO:t@U"prE~ns/
  • (US) /ˌpɔrtoʊˈprɪns/, /%pOrtoU"prIns/ or IPA: /ˌpɔrtoʊˈprɛ̃s/, /%pOrtoU"prE~ns/

Proper noun

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Wikipedia

Singular
Port-au-Prince

Plural
-

Port-au-Prince

  1. The capital of Haiti.

Translations


Simple English

Port-au-Prince
(Kréyòl): Pòtoprens
Port-au-Prince from space

Port-au-Prince
Port-au-Prince in Haiti
Coordinates: 18°32′21″N 72°20′06″W / 18.53917°N 72.335°W / 18.53917; -72.335
Country Haiti
Département Ouest
Arrondisement Port-au-Prince
Founded 1749
Colonial seat 1770
Elevation 98 m (322 ft)
Population (2007)
 - City 1,082,800
 Metro 1,728,100
 - Demonym Port-au-Princien
(female, Port-au-Princienne)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)

Port-au-Prince is the capital city of Haiti and of the Ouest Département and it is the country's largest city, with a population of nearly 2 million. It is located in the southwestern coast of the Gulf of Gonâve.

Port-au-Prince was built in 1749 and, in 1770, it replaced Cap-Français (the modern Cap-Haïtien) as capital of the French colony of Saint-Domingue. In 1804, it became the capital of new independent country Haiti. During the French and Haitian revolutions, it was known as Port-Républicain, before being renamed Port-au-Prince by Jean-Jacques Dessalines. When Haiti was divided between a kingdom in the north and a republic in the south, Port-au-Prince was the capital of the republic.

[[File:|right|thumb|300px|Cathedral of Port-au-Prince (Cathédrale de Notre-Dame)]] It is the cultural centre of the country. Here is the State University of Haiti (Université d'État d'Haïti in French or UEH), as well as the Quisqueya University and the Université des Caraïbes.

Port-au-Prince is the nation's largest centre of economy and finance. It has the most important port of the country and coffee and sugar are exported. Port-au-Prince has soap, textile, and cement factories and others to process foods.

There is an important airport: Aéroport International Toussaint Louverture ("Toussaint Louverture International Airport"), located 10 km north of the city.


Department capitals of Haiti
Cap-Haïtien • Fort-Liberté • Gonaïves • HincheJacmel • Jérémie • Les Cayes • Miragoâne • Port-au-PrincePort-de-Paix

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