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Castries

History

The city, which was founded by the French in the 18th century, was ravaged by fire three times between 1785 and 1812, and again in 1948. Consequently, most of the city’s historic buildings have been lost.

An area that survived the last fire was Derek Walcott Sq, a quiet square surrounded by a handful of 19th-century wooden buildings that have gingerbread-trim balconies, an attractive Victorian-style library and the imposing Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Opposite the cathedral at the east side of the square is a lofty saman (monkey pod) tree that’s estimated to be 400 years old.

The small city remains a friendly laid-back place with plenty of West Indian character.