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près de Port-of-Spain, Port-of-Spain (Republic of Trinidad and Tobago)
The Queen’s Park Savannah is the largest open space in the city of Port of Spain and is also the largest traffic roundabout in the world. Colloquially it is known simply as “the Savannah.” This greenspace occupies an area of 260 acres (1.1 square kilometer) of flat land with a perimeter distance of about 2.2 miles (3.5km). This was once a thriving sugar estate owned by the Peschier family. It was also the site of one of the most interesting emancipation acts when a slave named “Thisbee” poisoned the food of all the slaves on this plantation prior to emancipation. It was clearly obvious who was responsible for this act when all the slaves died except “Thisbee.” Some accounts hold that she was beheaded in what is now Independence Square in Port of Spain. This land was bought in 1817 by the town council, except for one small parcel near the center of the savannah that served as the Peschier family cemetery. This still remains in private hands.
When it was bought by town council it was initially used as a cattle pasture and then by the middle of the 19th century it was established as a park. There used to be horse racing around the savannah race track until the early 1990’s. The savannah now contains several cricket, football, and rugby pitches. The savannah was never really forested except for the ring of trees that line its perimeter and a small area to the north-west corner called the “Hollows.” The hollows was a former reservoir but was drained and converted to a wild flower park by the Ministry of Food Production. Just north of the savannah you’d encounter Lady Chancellor Road. This ascends “Chancellor Hill” overlooking the savannah and the city of Port of Spain. This is one of Port of Spain’s most exclusive residential areas.
On the southern side of the savannah is the “Grand Stand.” This was used formerly for viewing horse races. It now hosts various cultural events and Carnival. During carnival a temporary North Stand and stage are erected in front of the Grand Stand creating the “Big Yard.” This is the central location for Trinidad Carnival. From here the “Parade of the Bands” is broadcast live on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. It also hosts “Calypso Monarch” and the “Carnival King and Queen” competitions as well as the finals for the “Panorama” steelpan competition.
Along the western edge of the Savannah along Maraval Road lie the “Magnificent Seven.” This is a group of seven Victorian style buildings with an eccentric and flamboyant variety of styles. It is comprised of Queen’s Royal College, Hayes Court (the official residences of the Anglican Archbishop), the residence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop, Whitehall (the office of the Prime Minister), Mille Fleurs, Roomor, and Stollmeyer’s Castle (a turreted house supposedly modelled on Balmoral Castle which is now being converted into subsidiary offices for the prime minister's staff).
The Emperor Valley Zoo lies adjacent the Royal Botanical Gardens around Queen’s Pask Savannah (North) Port of Spain. The zoo’s exhibits are spread over 7.2 acres of land. Much of the original flora of this site was retained and is maintained to enhance the overall landscape. All of the enclosures, pathways, fences, and buildings were incorporated into the natural topography of the area thereby simulating a natural wilderness area. The zoo was named for the Morpho or Emperor Butterfly (Morpho peleides insularis) that once frequented this valley. The zoo came into existence with the founding of the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago on April 23rd, 1947. The zoo opened its gates on November 8th, 1952 to the general public.
The Royal Botanical Gardens of Trinidad and Tobago is comprised of 25 hectares of beautifully landscaped grounds. The garden was established in 1818 and is one of the oldest gardens in the West Indies to have a continuous existence. The garden consists of approximately 700 trees of which 13% are indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago. It also has trees that come from every continent of the world.
Happy Trails !!!