Charlotte Amalie

Charlotte Amalie

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Charlotte Amalie is the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was named after the wife of King Christian V in 1691 and it is often referred to as 'Charam'. Charlotte Amalie sits on a large bay and has long been a busy port and it is a lively place. Countless cruise ships visit Charlotte Amalie every year and the center of town is always packed with tourists. There, you will see various old Danish buildings, painted in pastel colors, as well as an ochre-colored fort. Many street signs in the center of town are in both Danish and English.

The best view over Charlotte Amalie is from Blackbeard's Castle, atop Government Hill, but the town's main historic attraction is Fort Christian. It is a modest, red building that was built in the 1670's to serve as a combined defense post, government house, church and community hall. Later, after threats of invasions dissipated, it became a jail. Since 1987 Fort Christian is home to a museum, where one can see displays on the region's natural heritage including medicinal plants and bird-life. The museums houses also a collection of art.

On the other side of town is Market Square, a covered plaza that serves as Charlotte Amalie's local food market. The Market Square was once the busiest trading post for slaves in the Caribbean. Nearby is the oldest continually operating synagogue in U.S. territory: the Beracha V'Shalom V'Gimilath Chasidim Synagogue. Sephardic Jews, fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, built it.

There are numerous hotels and restaurants in Charlotte Amalie, but most visitors arrive on a cruise ship and only visit Charlotte Amalie on a day trip. Charlotte Amalie is on the island of Saint Thomas.


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