Antigua Naval Dockyard and Related Archaeological Sites in Antigua and Barbuda

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The site consists of a group of Georgian-style naval buildings and structures, set within a walled enclosure. The natural environment of this side of the island of Antigua, with its deep, narrow bays surrounded by highlands, offered shelter from hurricanes and was ideal for repairing ships. In July 17, 2016 UNESCO listed this site in World Heritage List.

Location

In Antigual and Barbuda, it is part of Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. The Dockyard is located on its original site and continues to be embedded in the same original setting. The buildings within were all originally built between the 18th and 19th centuries and retain their original form and design. Most of them even retain their use and function, and those which do not are used for similar and/or compatible functions.

About Naval Dockyard and Related Archaeological Sites

  • The construction of the Dockyard by the British navy would not have been possible without the labour of generations of enslaved Africans since the end of the 18th century. Its aim was to protect the interests of sugar cane planters at a time when European powers were competing for control of the Eastern Caribbean.
  • The Antigua Naval Dockyard and its Related Archaeological Sites exhibit an important exchange of human values over a span of time within the Caribbean and between this region and the rest of the Commonwealth, on developments in architecture, technology and exploitation of natural topographical features for strategic military purposes.
  • The enslaved Africans toiling in the service of the British navy and army built and worked the facilities that were critical to the development of the British Empire, trade and industrialization. The Georgian Period buildings and the archaeological structures and remains stand as testimony to their efforts and continue to influence the architectural, social and economic development of their descendants.
  • The Antigua Naval Dockyard exceptionally shows how British Admiralty building prototypes were adapted to cope with extremes of climate, and the lessons learnt in the Caribbean in erecting such buildings were subsequently successfully applied in other colonies.
  • Among the most prominent witnesses of this interchange, Clarence House demonstrates how English Georgian architecture was modified to suit the hot tropical climate and to counter the threat of disease, and the emergence of a distinctly colonial Caribbean Georgian architecture; and the Officers’ Quarters and the Senior Officer’s House demonstrate how building forms were adapted, by the addition of features such as storm shutters and verandas, to suit the climate of the Caribbean.
  • Few other sites demonstrate this transition from British prototypes to the use of colonial building forms as clearly as the Antigua Naval Dockyard.

The ensemble of the Antigua Naval Dockyard and its Related Archaeological Sites were laid down and built exploiting the natural attributes of the area (the deep waters of English Harbour, the series of hills protecting the bay, the jagged contours of the coastline, and the narrow entrance) in a period when European powers were at war to expand their spheres of influence in the Caribbean.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Antigua is from May to November, the island’s off-season. Rates are cheapest at this time, and although there is a slight threat of hurricanes. Carnival also held in between these months mainly in june-july. A ten-day festival of colorful costumes, beauty pageants, talent shows, and especially good music. With several events carnival includes innumerable smaller festivities, including local concerts, food fairs, parades, and cultural shows. The weather in Antigua in February is very similar to that of January, with relatively cool temperatures and a small amount of rainfall.

About Antigual and Barbuda

The island has warm, steady winds, a complex coastline of safe harbors, and a protective, nearly unbroken wall of coral reef. It would make a perfect place to hide a fleet. There are 365 beaches on Antigua, one for each day of the year. The great majority rest inside the calm, protected waters of the island’s Caribbean side. All are pen to the public, and so the challenge posed to a visitor is not how to gain access to the best of them but simply how to locate the beach that suits one’s taste. Exploring on your own is the best way to do this, although it is wise to bring a companion along to particularly isolated locations. Antiguans are understandably reluctant to divulge their own favorites, so here are a number of good starters. Be sure to acquire specific directions before you go.

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