Tuesday, November 4, 2014

St. Helena Island

Napoleon's last prison. To quote:
Saint Helena is a volcanic island located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, composed largely of rugged terrain and perpendicular cliffs rising 500 to 700 meters tall. The only practicable place for ship landings is on the island’s north-western side at James Bay, from which a narrow valley extends 2.4 km inland. In this valley, sandwiched between steep cliffs, is nestled the town, capital and port of Jamestown.

Jamestown is Saint Helena’s most peculiar settlement. The town is rather long, thin and densely populated, with tightly knit, long and winding streets. Shrubs and trees decorate some of the street corners. The surrounding terrain is rough and steep, and rockfalls are an occurrence, sometimes damaging buildings. The town's prominent features is Jacob's Ladder, a staircase of 699 steps, built in 1829 to connect Jamestown to the former fort on Ladder Hill. The ladder is very popular with tourists, is lit at night and a timed run takes place there every year, with people coming from all over the world to take part. Other interesting sites to visit include the Museum of Saint Helena, the impressive High Knoll Fort, and Napoleon's two residence - Longwood House and the Briars, and his tomb.

Longwood House, in the town of the same name, was the home in which Napoleon spent the great majority of his time on Saint Helena and also where he died. It has several wings and contains the type of furniture it would have when he lived there, though most of the originals have been carried off elsewhere. The house is now run as a museum and maintained by the French government. (Read more.)

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