Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haitian Earthquake Kills Thousands and Devastates Island's Cultural Heritage

The news from Haiti is grim. The poorest of the poor have suffered greatly in an earthquake that is reported to have killed as many as 50,000 people. The world's attention is rightly focused on the human cost of the tragedy and how to help the survivors. At some point, however, cultural preservationists will take stock of the destruction of Haiti's Presidential Palace, its Parliament, its Cathedral and hundreds of other cultural sites.

I particularly wonder about the fate of Haiti's magnificent early 19th c. Fortifications. See The Citadelle Laferrière or, Citadelle Henri Christophe, located in the northern part of the country, was built to hold off the French, who never came as anticipated. It has already withstood a number of earthquakes. Time will tell it it has also withstood this terrible quake that has taken the lives of so many Haitians and has certainly also damaged much of the country's cultural heritage.

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