La Citadelle la Ferriere

Citadelle la Ferriere

The Citadelle la Ferriere is a 19th century fortress located on the top of the 2952.76 feet (900 mt) height Bonnet à l’Evêque mountain in Haiti. One of the most popular attractions in Haiti, with a great history and an important landmark of the country. The majority of the fort is accessible to tourists.

It was commissioned in 1805 by Henri Christophe, a former slave and leader in the slave revolution, and built by former slaves as a defensive strategy against the French, completing the structure in 1820.

Its strategic location allowed Haitians to have an optimal sight to avoid future invasions. It is still the biggest fortress in America, with 130 feet height (40 mt), an area of 107,650 sq ft (10,000 sq mt), 4 meters thick walls and 365 cannons of different sizes, a Haitian icon and symbol of independence featured in currency, stamps and postcards.

La Citadelle la Ferriere

The fort is big enough to store food for 5,000 defenders for up to a year, and has palace quarters for the royal family, dungeons, bathing quarters and even cooking ovens.

One of the most interesting things about The Citadelle is its different shapes, showing different angles depending on the viewer’s location, created to deviate enemy’s cannonballs. French attack never came, and the fort was eventually abandoned.

It is the only African-Derived military fortification in America, and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.

How to get there:

The closest town to the fort is Milot, where you will be able to find guides and transportation, (usually horses) to the Citadelle. The first portion of the trail (7 miles) can be completed by a 4WD vehicle, however the remaining of the trail will need to be done on horseback or by foot.
It would be wise to negotiate the price beforehand. There are some houses, souvenirs and locals selling drinks and food on the way to the top.

Reaching by foot is possible as well, but it is recommended to wear the right gear and carry enough water, due to the tropical heat.