Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Map of Jacmel

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While the world's attention is focused on earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince, a catastrophe of parallel magnitude is unfolding in isolation on the country's southern coast, Jacmel. Video by by Trenton Daniel / Miami Herald Staff

Jacmel before the earthquake(11-3-2008)

Jacmel (Kréyòl: Jakmèl, 雅克梅勒) is a city in southeast Haiti, on the Caribbean coast, at the mouth of the river Grande Rivière de Jacmel. It is the capital city of the Sud-Est Département.

The city is in the Baie de Jacmel ("Jacmel Bay") about 86 km south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. It is also the chief town of an arrondissement (a part of a department) with the same name. The arrondissement has four communes (a commune is like a municipality): Jacmel, Cayes-Jacmel, La Vallée and Marigot

Christopher Columbus gave the name Puerto de Brasil ("Brazil port") to the place where Jacmel is now because there were many trees called "Brasil" (English: Brazilwood) in the region that were cut and sent to Spain;[2] the tree has a yellow substance (and wood) that was used to give that color to hair, cloths and other objects.

In 1504, Nicolás de Ovando, Spanish governor of the Hispaniola, founded the town of Villanueva de Yáquimo (or Villanova de Yáquimo). But people left the town and French people came to live here; in 1698, the new town of Jacmel was founded.

There are many beautiful old houses in Jacmel, from the 1880s. Since 2004, the 'Festival Film Jakmèl' is celebrated in Jacmel and, since 2007, the international music festival 'Festival Mizik Jakmèl'. Many visitors come to Jacmel for its carnival, the Bassins Bleu waterfalls, and the white sand beaches near the city.

From Lonely Planet:

Sheltered by a beautiful 3km-wide bay, the old coffee port of Jacmel is one of the most friendly and tranquil towns in Haiti. Little more than a couple of hours drive south from Port-au-Prince, it’s a popular weekend destination for city dwellers, and hosts one of the country’s best Carnivals every Lent. But at any time of year, Jacmel is a great place for recharging the batteries.

Part of Jacmel’s charm is down to its old town center, full of mansions and merchants’ warehouses with a late-Victorian grace poking out from behind the wrought-iron balconies and peeling façades.

"The Handicraft Center of Haiti"
Jacmel is proudly proclaimed "The Handicraft Center of Haiti," and a city which is restoring its historical heritage.If some of the buildings need a lick of paint, Jacmel’s artists could hardly be described as slouches. The town is the undisputed handicrafts capital of Haiti, with dozens of workshops producing hand-painted souvenirs, from wall decorations to the elaborate papier-mâché masks produced for the Carnival festivities. It’s the birthplace of two hugely influential creative forces, both of whom have created inspiring works depicting the town, the artist Préfète Duffaut, who contributed to the amazing murals of Sainte Trinité Episcopalian Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, and the novelist and poet René Dépestre.

Related articles:
1. Shattered and forgotten, the port city of Jacmel waits, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/haiti/story/1428351.html
2. Haiti coastal city, once a destination for tourists and Carnival celebrants, quieted by quake, http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jF6ywW1HfN1wMacOREvSpHyyJJiQ
3. VIDEO ON THE GROUND REPORTS FROM JACMEL, HAITI, http://fromthewilderness.ning.com/video/video-on-the-ground-reports
4. Video: On the ground Reports from Jacmel, by HaitiCine Institute, http://www.vimeo.com/8825019
5. Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti; by James W. Coates, http://haiti-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/carnival_in_jacmel_haiti

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