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St. John`s, die Hauptstadt von Antigua, Bild: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

St. John ́s – the fascinating capital of Antigua and Barbuda

The fascinating island paradise of Antigua is not only a real highlight because of its fantastic Caribbean beaches. Especially the island’s capital St. John ́s enchants many travelers. Located in the northwest of Antigua, the city not only has a deep-sea port and is a popular port of call for cruise ships, but the city, which was once under British rule, also inspires with its numerous sights. To this day, Victorian-style houses characterize the cityscape. At the same time, the colourful markets and the hustle and bustle on the streets of the city are inspiring, so that St. John ́s has long since developed from an insider tip to a popular travel destination.

If you spent your vacation in Antigua, you should definitely take time for a stroll through St. John ́s and enjoy the special flair of the city. In the lively city, sightseeing and shopping tour merge seamlessly. The mixture of the traditions of the locals and the influences from colonization ensures that a visit to the city of 22,000 inhabitants is an unforgettable experience.

Sights of the island’s capital

As the economic and cultural center of Antigua, St. John’s is a magnet for islanders and tourists alike. The city with its colorful houses can be easily explored on foot, but minibuses and taxis are also available. Basically, the entire city area is worth seeing and there are many architectural pearls to discover in St. John ́s, but it is worth heading for some of the sights.

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St. John the Divine Cathedral

Where the St. John the Divine Cathdral is located today, two churches have already fallen victim to an earthquake in the course of history. In 1681, an Anglican cathedral was built here in wooden construction. After its destruction, a stone church was built in 1722, which was also destroyed. The current cathedral was built between 1845 and 1847 and survived both an earthquake in 1974 and hurricane “Hugo” in 1989. Accordingly, the cathedral in Baroque style still impresses its visitors today. Especially the life-size statues on the south portal of the church are also worth a second look.

Fort James

To protect the city, Fort James was built on the northern side of the harbor opposite Fort Barrington. In 1675, the foundation stone for the fort was laid. However, the current building fabric dates back to 1749. The well-preserved walls and the cannons still there are extremely impressive. In addition, the fort offers a wonderful view of the harbor.

Old Court House

The courthouse, designed in 1747 by the American architect Peter Harrison, is one of the most impressive buildings in the city. Today, a visit is no longer worthwhile only because of the architecture, but also because the National Museum of Antigua and Barbuda is housed in the venerable building.

St. John ́s – the shopping paradise of the Caribbean

British Fort James Antigua and Barbuda
British Fort James was built to guard St. John’s Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean , Image: Lindasj22 /shutterstock

Those who choose the Caribbean as a travel destination thank you for paradisiacal beaches and untouched nature, but usually not for a shopping paradise. St. John ́s therefore surprises many tourists with its excellent shopping opportunities, which are quite attractive. Unlike other Caribbean islands, tourists in Antigua and Barbuda can make Dity-Free purchases without restrictions.

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A highlight is Hermitage Quay, where cruise ship tourists have direct access to the shopping centre and can do duty-free shopping without any worries. The popular shopping paradise offers everything your heart desires on two floors. The range of goods ranges from cigars and spirits to cosmetics and perfumes to exquisite jewellery and high-quality electronics.

Alternatively, you can visit the department store on Redcliffe Quay. There are over 40 shops, a hotel, a bank, restaurants and a casino. The special thing, however, is the location, because where tourists do duty-free shopping today, slaves were once housed. After the abolition of slavery in 1834, the accommodations were no longer needed and the building was used as a warehouse for a long time. With great attention to detail, the building was restored according to the historical model and now serves as a department store.

The British American Mall, the Piggotts Mall or the Woods Mall also offer good and cheap shopping opportunities.

Special features in St. John ́s

The colonial era has not only left its mark on the cityscape, but to this day a large part of the city’s population speaks English, so that communication on site is no problem. In addition to Caribbean dollars, the US dollar is also easily accepted as a means of payment in most shops and restaurants. If you still want to bet on the Caribbean dollar, you will find numerous ATMs or exchange offices in St. John’s.