If you come to Haiti by plane, you first land at Port-au-Prince international airport. The city is also the starting point for many activities. A tour through the different quarters gives a first impression of the mix of architecture in the city.
One of the popular districts of Port-au-Prince is Pétionville. If you want to escape the noise and smog of the city center, this hill is the right place for you. The air here is clean and while strolling through the alleys with their various galleries, vacationers can admire the many paintings. In the north of Haiti, in Cap Haitien, visitors will find the wreck with which Columbus is said to have discovered Hispaniola. The landscapes in Haiti are breathtakingly beautiful.
According to Areacodesexplorer, the name Haiti is derived from the Taino language. These are the indigenous people of Hispaniola. “Haiti” means “mountainous country”. Today around 9 million people live in the mountainous country. Most of them have African ancestry, most of them maintain this tradition, either publicly or privately. However, Haiti is also said to be one of the least developed countries on the American continent, or even the “Western World”. Especially after the devastating earthquake in 2010, the situation in Haiti has deteriorated further. The reason for the low development of Haiti is very simple:little tourism, little boom or stability. In addition, there is an uncertain political situation. There are frequent riots in the country. However, the trouble spots are usually not in the immediate vicinity of the tourist centers.
The country’s culture is very different from the surrounding Caribbean islands. This is because Haiti had an unusual mix of French, Spanish and African influences.
Haiti – key data
Area: 27,750 km² (land: 27,560 km², water: 190 km²)
Population: 9.7 million (July 2011, CIA estimate). Blacks 95%, mulattos and whites 5%.
Population density: 350 residents per km²
Population growth: 0.787% per year (2011, CIA)
Highest point: Chaine de la Selle, 2,680 m
Lowest point: Caribbean, 0 m
Capital: Port-au-Prince (1,234,800 residents, 2005) Form of
government: Haiti has been a presidential republic since 1987, the constitution dates from the same year. The bicameral parliament consists of a House of Representatives with 82 members and a Senate with 27 members. Haiti has been independent from France since January 1, 1804.
Administrative structure: 10 departments: Artibonite, Center, Grand ‘Anse, Nippes, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud and Sud-Est.
Head of State: President Michel Martelly, since May 14, 2011
Head of Government: Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, since May 16, 2012
Language: The official languages in Haiti are French and Creole (a mix of French, Spanish, English and West African languages), which are spoken by approximately 85% of the population. English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Religion: The majority of the population (around 80%) are Roman Catholic. 16% are Protestants (Baptists 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventists 1%, others 1%). About half of the population is also a follower of the polytheistic voodoo religion, which was recognized as an official religion in Haiti in April 2003.
Local time: CET -6 h. In Haiti there is no change between summer and winter time.
The time difference to Central Europe is -6 h in winter and -7 h in summer.
International phone code: +509
Mains voltage: 110 V, 60 Hz.
Haiti – geography
Due to the island’s resemblance to the Landscapes in Andalusia Columbus called Hispaniola or Espanola (“Little Spain”). The name for today’s state refers to the Indian word “ahiti”, which means something like “mountain” or “mountainous”. The area of Haiti corresponds roughly to that of Belgium.
The coast of Haiti is divided by bays and beaches rich in vegetation. The natural harbor of Port-au-Prince is also located on a deep bay.
The country’s highest peak at 2,680 m, the Morne de la Selle, is located near the south coast and the border to the even more mountainous Dominican Republic.
On the map, the island of Hispaniola looks like a crab sticking its claws west. The two scissors are two narrow, mountainous peninsulas that encompass the wide Gonave Gulf to the north and south. The mountains rise steeply from the coast, confirming the Indian name of Haiti. There are no larger coastal regions in Haiti.
According to their geological structure, the mountain ranges are the direct continuation of the Sierra Maestra in Cuba and the Blue Mountains in Jamaica. They belong to two strands of the American Fold Mountains that stretch out from the Central American mainland to the Caribbean. In the course of recent geological history, these strands of folds have been torn. The deepest crack runs in the area of the submarine Cayman Trench through the earth’s crust, which sharply delimits the island. The narrow depressions that cross the mountains of Haiti in an approximately west-east direction are also geological trenches.
In Haiti, predominantly red tropical soils are widespread, which are shallow and stony on the mountain slopes, sometimes completely washed away by erosion.
Originally, the island was densely forested with the exception of the dry valleys. Today the forest only takes up a fraction of the country’s area. Remnants of the evergreen tropical rainforest with a species-rich bird life have only been preserved in remote regions. As a result of the centuries of deforestation, the proportion of savannas with cacti and isolated thorn bushes has increased.