( ), population 10,634, aggl.
(2001-05-12), is the capital city of
Lucia, a country in the West Indies.
The district with the same name had a
population of 61,341 in 2001-05-22, and stretches over an area of
Castries is located in a flood gut and is actually built on
. It houses the seat of
government and the head offices of many of the businesses both
foreign and local. The city's design is in a grid pattern
similar to a metropolitan city like New York but on a
much smaller scale.
It has a sheltered harbour which
receives cargo vessels and ferry boats as well as cruise ships. It
contains duty free
such as Point Seraphine and La Place Carinage; many restaurants
which offer varied menus from local to Chinese; supermarkets and
many other shopping facilities. The city is well serviced by a bus
system and taxi service.
St Lucia's main post office is located 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.
was founded by the French in 1650 as
"Carenage" (meaning safe anchorage), then renamed in 1756 after
Eug√®ne Gabriel de La Croix, marquis de Castries, commander of a
French expeditionary force to Corsica that year.
settlement across the harbor at Vigie, started in 1651, was
abandoned after the devastating hurricane of 1780.From 1803 to 1844
the British made the town a major naval port and built
fortifications on Morne Fortune, the mountain which overlooks this
important harbor. By 1844, Castries had a population of 4,000. By
the end of the century it had become a major coaling station,
because it was the only port in the Caribbean capable of
accommodating the Royal Navy.
During WWII, a German U-boat sailed into Castries harbor and sank
two allied ships. Castries has been rebuilt many times, following
major fires in 1796 and 1813, and most notably on June 19,
Some houses on the hill, taken from a
One of the major tourist areas in St. Lucia, Castries is a port of
call for cruise ships. Cruise ships dock at Pointe Seraphine, to
the north of the harbour which is also a duty free shopping centre.
A taxi service is readily available to take you on tours of the
rest of the country or the city. There is also a water taxi
available to take you from there to the city as well. The greatest
concentration of hotels, resorts, and restaurants are near Castries
and the island's other main towns, Gros Islet, Soufri√®re, and
The city maintains three tourist offices,
and one in the airport. There are also many duty free shops within
the town itself and several restaurants and other eating
establishments including Burger King, Dominoes and KFC.
Castries has a few landmarks such as the Cathedral
of the Immaculate Conception
, Derek Walcott Square (named after
the island's Nobel Prize-winning poet, Derek Walcott
; before that it was named
Columbus Square), the City Library, the Government House, and Fort
Charlotte, at the top of Morne Fortune (an 845-foot hill) to name a
One of the major draws for tourists to St. Lucia is its beaches,
and there are several in or very near Castries. Vigie Beach
, Malabar Beach, Choc Beach, and La
Toc Beach are all within easy reach.
is served by George F. L. Charles Airport, also known as Vigie Airport. Passengers on longer
flights arrive at Hewanorra International Airport, near Vieux-Fort.
However, the drive between Hewanorra and Castries can take an hour
and a half. Helicopter service between the two airports shortens
run between Castries and Fort-de-France, Martinique.
Yachts may also 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 who don't
comply are fined. Afterward, yachts may anchor in front of Castries
Town or Vigie Creek.
Standard bus routes run from Castries to all the outlying districts
on the island. These buses can be identified by their green license
plates with the numbers starting with an M example M456. There are
designated areas where you can see these buses lined up awaiting
passengers to take them to their destinations. On the front of
these buses is what is called a "Route Band". It is luminescent and
contains the words Route 1A or 1B.To get to other areas of the
island, one can use these buses or the taxi service which have blue
plates. The private minivan buses offer transportation from bus
stops, or simply by being flagged down on the roadside.
As well as being the capital city of Saint Lucia, Castries hosts
the secretariat of the Organisation of Eastern
. Castries also hosts the headquarters of the
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.
A number of international embassies and consulates keep their
headquarters in Castries. They include the Organization
of American States, British High
Commission, Mexican Embassy,
Chinese embassy, Dominican Republic Consulate,
French Embassy, Italian Vice Consulate, Jamaican Consulate, Netherlands Consulate, Norwegian Consulate, and Venezuelan Embassy.