Originally constructed between 1738 and 1749 to protect Danish interests in Christiansted, which was, at the time, the capital of the Danish West Indies, Fort Christiansvaern in St. Croix remains to this day the best-preserved colonial fort in the Virgin Islands.
Exploring within its walls has been a fascination of mine dating back to my grade school years at St. Croix Country Day School, when field trips here were part of the annual curriculum (and the fort was painted red). I still make a point of visiting whenever I’m back home with my kids, reliving those childhood hands-on history lessons through their experiences and discoveries.
Climbing the cannons that line her walls and descending into the old fort’s dungeons are fun, but to me no visit to Fort Christiansvaern is complete without taking in the view pictured above from Christiansted Harbor.
From the sea, the history lesson really comes full-circle, providing your mind’s eye with the same perspective visiting sailors would’ve had 250+ years ago!
Friendly ships would no doubt breathe a sigh relief secure in the knowledge that the imposing bulwark meant a safe completion to their journey. Most enemies, I suspect, would simply turn tail in search of an easier mark.
My kids (then, age eight) and I had a chance to imagine and discuss such scenarios together while heading out on this trip to Buck Island a couple years ago. It was a great bonding opportunity that really speaks to the amazing array of historical attractions all over St. Croix and the easy ways they can enrich your family travel experiences.