When you talk about images that don’t seem to fit a certain location, very few places on the planet will top this sight. A castle modeled after the classic European ones, even the setting’s the same, perched on a hilltop overlooking. From where the royals can oversee all their subjects. But one main difference, the castle overlooks… tropical canopies of the Caribbean. The castle ruin dates from early 1800s, in the most random country… Haiti! One of the poorest countries in the Caribbean. Welcome to a truly unique castle ruin, The Palace of Sans-Souci, not the famous one outside Potsdam in Germany, but the Haiti-version.
This National History Complex including The Citadel Laferrire, The Palace of Sans-Souci and the buildings of Ramiers is the largest fortress in the Western Hemisphere. These Haitian monuments date from the beginning of the 19th century, when Haiti proclaimed its independence and became a free republic. The monuments serve as universal symbols of liberty, being the first monuments to be constructed by black slaves who had gained their freedom.
The construction of The Palace of Sans-Souci was ordered by a Megalomaniac King of Haiti Henry I (better known as Henri Christophe) as his royal residence. Construction of the palace started in 1810 and was completed in 1813 and based in Frederic II of Prussia famous Sanssouci Palace near Postdam, Germany. Sans-Souci Palace also includes a printing shop, garment factories, a hospital, schools, a distillery chapel and military barracks.
The Citadelle Laferrierre is a massive stone mountaintop fortress, built by up to 20,000 enslaved workers between 1805 and 1820 as part of a system of fortifications designed to keep the newly-independent nation of Haiti safe from French incursions.
Sans-Souci was ruined by the earthquake that destroyed Cap Haitien in 1842. Today it is in ruins but it is still worth seeing and the shell of the building remains intact giving an idea of its grandeur. Haitians call this site the 8th World Wonder, but it’s a wonder anyone gets to visit the fortress at all. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.