It became a British crown colony in 1833. It’s Britain’s second oldest overseas territory. It’s where Napoléon Bonaparte was exiled to and detained, and it’s where he died. It’s said that he loved the coffee. It’s the home of the oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere. Charles Darwin described the island as ‘a curious little world within itself’ on a visit to the island in 1836. And they drive on the correct side of the road. The left. Today, we’re on the Island of Solitude, Saint Helena.
Saint Helena is a happy, peaceful and tranquil British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the remotest islands on Earth, 1,210 miles west of Angola in Africa and 2,500 miles east of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. It is also one of the smallest inhabited islands on Earth at only 47 square miles, with a population of just over 4,000 people. The motto of the island is ‘Loyal and Unshakeable’ and its name comes from Saint Helena of Constantinople.
The steep and dominant cliffs of this volcanic island rise dramatically from the sea, almost putting this bold, magical and special land on a pedestal like some striking beacon in the middle of nowhere. With virtually no crime, it is one of the safest places on Earth. Living on this green and rugged land, are a talkative and traditional people, a melange of cultures from around the world. Saint Helenians are a close-knit and generous folk, hospitable, laid back and thoughtful. Their helpfulness and friendliness knows no bounds.
The beauty of this island is infectious. There are sights to see such as Saint Paul’s Cathedral, completed in 1851. A small yet captivating stone marvel, a powerful design for an empyrean and arresting building. And there is also Saint James’ Church, a lovely little church in Jamestown, the aforementioned oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere, constructed in 1774. Its simple white facade whispers an inherent charm, what with its mirable detailing and sensational surroundings.
Then there is Jamestown itself, the capital city of the island. Quite possibly one of the most unique and characterful capital cities on Earth. It’s a long and thin slither of buildings tightly crammed together, sandwiched at the bottom of a valley, flanked on both sides by enormous rock faces. It’s almost tucked away, hidden from view. From James Bay, it’s hardly visible. Only a little bit can be seen behind a wall of greenery. But it is there and it is rather special indeed.
And then there are the castle gardens in Jamestown. Quiet and sumptuous, nestled rather wonderfully like some Garden of Eden. A thousand hues and many plants adorn this little garden, grand yet simple, an almost magical place with an Elysian aura and a wondrous ethereal nature.
But I think the greatest sight of the island is Diana’s Peak, a stunning and breathtaking piece of luscious green art. The highest point on the island, a 2,684-foot mountain, a queen who sings a song of supreme elegance, grace and grandeur. A sight isangelous and voiceful, a heavenly place of incredible ageless allure.
Saint Helena. The island of remoteness, friendliness and Napoléon’s wonderful coffee.
Images (Click on Them to Enlarge)
1) Diana’s Peak (credit: 4.bp.blogspot.com)
2) The castle gardens (credit: sainthelenaisland.info)
3) Looking at the capital city, Jamestown, from James Bay; the city itself is nestled at the bottom of the valley – you may be able to see a building with a white tower to the right of the middle of the photograph; this is Saint James’ Church (credit: wikipedia.org)
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