Late-Afternoon at Sans-Souci Palace in Milot Haiti ; Shutterstock ID 1349468726; your: Sloane Tucker; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: Destination Page

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Sans Souci


Built as a rival to Versailles in France, Henry Christophe’s palace of Sans Souci has lain abandoned since it was ruined in the 1842 earthquake. The years of neglect have left an elegantly crumbling edifice. Finished in 1813, Sans Souci was more than just a palace; it was designed to be the administrative capital of Christophe’s kingdom, housing a hospital, a school and a printing press, as well as an army barracks.

The palace is approached by a grand staircase once flanked by bronze lions. You enter a series of rooms – the throne room, banquet halls and private apartments. Although the walls are now bare brick they would have been hung with rich tapestries and paintings, all designed to show that although Haitians had once been slaves, they were now a cultured nation. The palace originally had three stories and huge French picture windows. From his apartments, Christophe maintained correspondences with the Czar of Russia and the English abolitionist William Wilberforce.

Behind the palace are the remains of the King’s and Queen’s ornamental gardens, including a swimming pool. To one side are the remains of the hospital and, opposite, the old barracks, home to the Royal Corps of freed slaves from Dahomey.

Just above the palace site, a roughly paved road (constructed under the Baby Doc regime) winds up the mountain to the Citadelle.

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