Gustavia Tourist Attractions
Gustavia, St Barths' red-roofed capital, is a small harbor town which includes chic boutiques, duty free shops, French restaurants, galleries and the town hall or "Mairie".The harbor accommodates sizeable yachts, rustic fishing boats and the cruise ships that make Gustavia a port of call.
Wall House Museum
In the Wall House Museum, erected during St Barths' Swedish period, are texts, historical engravings and maps that trace St Barths' history from Columbus to the Swedes and beyond. The front is marked by cannons and Swedish and French flags.This historic building has been nicely renovated.
The remains of this 18th C fortification include the ruins of the stone ramparts, a sentry box, part of the old brick-floored bakery, cannons and a powder house.Recognizable by the red and white lighthouse that was built on the site in 1961, the fort is one of the best vantage points for viewing the harbor. A panoramic table identifying the highlights of Gustavia and the neighboring islands is located on the grounds.
St Bartholomew's Anglican Episcopal Church
Opposite St Bartholomew's Anglican Episcopal Church, built in 1855, is an English anchor identified as the type used by British warships from 1700 to 1825. This 10-ton anchor was unwittingly hauled into Gustavia's waters by a tugboat towing a barge.The church's interior is lined with heavy dark-wood pews, which lead to a white-lace-covered altar.
The natural leeward port of Gustavia became an important trade site during 18th C.Today the warehouses have been replaced by restaurants and duty free luxury shops that greet travelers disembarking from the many cruise-ships that call here. A ferry service from St Maarten is available.
Old Bell Tower (Swedish Belfry)
The oldest building in Gustavia is the Vieux Clocher or the Swedish Belfry. Built in 1799, it belonged to a church since blown down by a hurricane.Its original bell was cast in Stockholm and a German clock with a French clock-face was installed in the 1930s.
St Barth Town Hall
Built in a Swedish architectural style with a green and white façade and stone foundation, this building is now the St Barth Town Hall, although it once accommodated the island's Swedish Governors.At the Mairie de St Barth is the country's coat of arms including both French and Swedish Flags.
Vistas of Shell Beach are seen from the top of the 98ft/29m hill where the few remaining stone walls of Fort Karl are located.
Fort Oscar guards the entrance to Gustavia Harbor at La Pointe, but it is closed to the public. The waters off Fort Oscar are a popular anchorage with sailors.
Herve Podeur Sculpture Gallery
The Herve Podeur Sculpture Gallery displays sculptures made of found-objects including driftwood.