"Port-au-Prince, Capitol of Haiti" Top 5 Page for this destination Port-au-Prince by Beausoleil

Port-au-Prince Travel Guide: 110 reviews and 165 photos

Update: Jan. 11, 2011 . . . With only 5 percent of the rubble removed in the capitol of Port-au-Prince, the Iron Market has been rebuilt. If you've ever visited the city, you know the Iron Market is the heart of the city. They sell everything there and it is a major tourist destination. Literally a thousand merchants have booths in the Iron Market. Denis O’Brien, an Irish billionaire has poured $12 million of his own money into the restoration of the Iron Market and he and the mayor of PAP have worked closely together to see that the work was completed. The Irish O'Brien dominates the Haitian cellphone market with his company Digicel. Many merchants have moved back in although the grand opening is set near the 1st anniversary of the earthquake that destroyed it. President Clinton is expected to be at the grand opening.

Update: Jan. 13, 2010 . . . Preliminary unconfirmed reports following the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake suggest the Hotel Montana has collapsed. There are photos showing the Presidential Palace badly damaged. Further photos show collapse of the UN Headquarters in PAP, the National Cathedral and many buildings reduced to rubble. I have no word yet on the Episcopal Cathedral just blocks from the Presidential Palace. If you want to send aid to Haiti, please send it through an agency that is in place and trusted, for example, Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, a church mission organization. I know the Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Mennonite and Baptist churches all maintain excellent mission organizations in Haiti. They would put aid money and supplies to good use. I'll repost as I get more news.

Newest Update from a friend in the Episcopal Church: We have devastating news to share with you from Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake yesterday. According to reports I have received here in Les Cayes, the damage in Port au Prince and areas around it is terrible. There is no Episcopal Cathedral. The entire Holy Trinity complex is gone. The Episcopal convent for the Sisters of St. Margaret is gone. The Episcopal Bishop's house is gone. College St. Pierre is gone. The apartment for College St. Pierre is still standing. Bishop no longer has a house in which to live.
In Trouin, four people were killed during a service.
In Grand Colline, the Episcopal Church is gone.
In St. Etienne, the Episcopal Church is gone.
In Les Cayes, BTI is OK, but some people were injured trying to get out of the buildings during the quake. The rectory in Les Cayes is in very bad condition

Update Jan. 15, 2009
The Episcopal Convent of the Sisters of St. Margaret has been destroyed along with Holy Trinity School, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Bishop Duracin's residence. St. Vincent's School for Handicapped Children has been damaged. No word yet on the Trade School or Music School. The presumption is that the amazing frescoes inside the Episcopal Cathedral have been lost. They would be a worthy cause for restoration. Bright note is that the nuns from the Sisters of St. Margaret have all been found alive and well although living on a football field behind College St. Pierre right now. The Episcopal Bishop has been found safe.

Update Feb. 21, 2010:
The bulldozers were approaching Holy Trinity Cathedral and were stopped in time. There is a movement afoot to save as many of the famous frescoes as possible. The Haitian Culture Minister is trying to put together an evaluation of how to save the cultural heritage of the country, a tremendous undertaking.

There are also groups trying to replace concert halls and musical instruments at Holy Trinity and other music schools in the country.

You don't normally think of Haiti when you think of Christmas, but think "folk art" and it makes more sense.

There are two voodoo masks (gifts), two iron candle stands, two eggs painted wth Haitian naive art, two small wooden statues (gifts) and a lovely carved wood Nativity scene with a wooden bowl for Christmas treats.

The gift shop at Ecole Ste. Trinite, the school attached to the Episcopal Cathedral is a terrific place to do your shopping.

This is a closer look at the hand carved Haitian Nativity scene. They are sold at the Gift Shop attached to Ecole Ste. Trinite and come in two sizes. This is the smaller one and I treasure it.

The gift shop is right downtown PAP a few blocks from the Haitian "white" house and the Cathedral is certainly worth a visit. The inside is covered with original Haitian murals and many windows are clay carvings. There is a music school attached to the primary school and they have an excellent classical music program there. The concert hall, Salle Ste. Cecile, is the most accoustically perfect building in the entire country.

If you manage to visit the Cathedral during the wedding (or funeral) of an orchestra member, you will hear the service performed by a full orchestra and chorus. It is an amazing experience.

Drive up the hill toward Kenscoff, out of the noisy city and this is what you'll find. The countryside is magical. It is lovely and green and the people are incredibly friendly.

Each little town specializes in something and often it is a particular kind of candy. As you drive into town, market women will wave to your car hoping you'll stop and buy some. Do because it is all wonderful. Be sure you bargain with them. They expect it and it's all part of the fun.

There will be crafts, paintings and various foods available in the markets in each town. These are fun to explore on foot.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Spectacular scenery and warm-hearted people
  • Cons:Grinding poverty and political unrest
  • In a nutshell:Be flexible and willing to explore a different world
  • Intro Updated Jan 11, 2011
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Reviews (9)

Comments (11)

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Very interesting. Not your typical Christmas decoration.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity looks so beautiful and inviting. I enjoyed the tour!

  • RafaelTheSecond's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    the brazilian mission in Haiti is doing a great job for the country and people like you also help with you enormous good heart! Thank you!

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    Your memories and photos become all the more treasured now that so much isn't there any more.

  • cochinjew's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    The catholic church in Miami is in the process of bringing orphaned haitian children, in the manner of Pedro Pan where 200 000 cubans were airlifted to the USA. Schools in Miami are getting ready for the new influx of Haitian students.

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Norman, The Episcopal Cathedral with its fabulous Haitian frescoes has been nearly destroyed. See my second and third updates above. So sad . . .

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    I think this Church was also affected by earthquake...I saw it on CNN I believe. The palace was totally destroyed.

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2009 at 9:11 PM

    Very interesting pages . We bought alovely Haitian painting while in St Lucia . I would love to go there someday.

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Apr 25, 2008 at 8:25 AM

    Very imformative tips! Well done.

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2007 at 11:28 AM

    The Church has a unique design. Any chance of going back to Haiti soon? Would love a postcard sent from there :)


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