Two Sites Of Utmost Importance
Located in the Artibonite region of Haiti about two and a half hours from the capital Port-au-Prince, Petite-Rivière de l'Artibonite bears some famous tourist potentialities including its incredible landscape and historical monuments.
Accessible by trucks, 4-wheel-drive or motorcycles, a thirty-minute ride from the national road number one takes you to this peaceful harbor town endowed with some antique and modern houses.
The front side of the 365-Doors Palace
According to its residents, Petite-Rivière-de-l'Artibonite is a very nice place. In fact, it would become one of the best touristic sites in Haiti if there were some basic infrastructures and at least a modern hotel that can accommodate visitors for a more enjoyable and memorable stay in the area.
One of Petite-Riviere's popular site is the 365-doors palace built in 1816 by former King Henri Christophe. Symbolizing a glorious past, the 365-doors palace not to be confused with the Sans-Souci Palace in Milot, remains the pride of Petite-Rivière's residents despite years of deterioration. However, the palace is now undergoing renovation works by the current administration that will hopefully give to the area its former glory.
Remember that it was already restored under the administration of former president Sténio Vincent in 1932. At that time, the palace roof was covered with corrugated metal sheets supported by wooden structures. Its walls were preserved with layers of cement and bricks, and the doors made out of wood. Years later, the 365-doors palace sheltered a local primary school, different public offices as well as the municipal office of the town. It was classified as national heritage in 1995 under the supervision of ISPAN (Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National). Due to the lack of financial resources and political instability, the 365-doors palace has been ever since deteriorated despite some local associations' attempts to maintain it.
Further up above one of the Cahos' hillocks stands another important site worth visiting, the Crête-à-Pierrot fort which overlooks the Artibonite river and valley. Built by liberated slaves, renovated by the British during their stay in the region, then quickly transformed into a fort by Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the Crête-à-Pierrot fort has been the setting in March 1802 of one of the bloodiest battles that led later to Haiti's independence. This site also brings into memory the famous name of Marie-Jeanne Lamartinière, the “Haitian Joan of Arc” who distinguished herself for her bravery during a 24-day siege by the French troops.
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Today, this defensive structure attracts many curious and serves as a meeting place to some residents in search of tranquility and repose. It is among the historical heritages classified to be preserved.
View of La Crête-à-Pierrot Fort east side
Obviously, the renovation of the 365-doors palace and the preservation of the Crête-à-Pierrot in Petite-Riviere-de-L'Artibonite could become the sites of national pilgrimage where proud residents and other visitors would rejoice and re-discover the intelligence and the bravery of Haitians as illustrated in Haiti's Hidden Treasures Part II.