The Magnificent Seven, a collection of ornate, historic mansions lining the famed Queens Park Savanah in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, stand out among the Caribbean’s finest examples of grand and distinctive architecture. Arguably the most distinctive of the bunch: Archbishop’s Palace.
The first time I saw it some six years ago I remember thinking that the Palace didn’t really fit with the other six. All seven are unique in their own special ways, of course, but Archbishop’s Palace seemed far removed in design from the Edwardian and Victorian styles chiefly espoused by the other structures. It almost looked to me like it should be in the Middle East.
A little post-trip research on the origins of the Palace revealed that I was almost right… sort of.
The architect of Archbishop’s Palace was, indeed, not Trinidadian or British. He wasn’t from the Middle East either.
The Palace was actually designed by an Irishman. Irish elements found in the structure include red granite and marble brought over from the Emerald Isle.
But what about the distinctively non-European style of the structure… Where did that come from?
Well, as it turns out, the Irish architect just happened to have an outsized affinity for Indian architecture. There’s certainly some Medieval style in there too, especially crowning the tower, but for the most part this Palace would’ve seemed right at home if situated within the British Raj.
Unlike most of the rest of the Magnificent Seven, Archbishop’s Palace continues today to serve its initial purpose, housing the Archbishop of Port-of-Spain in grand style. Of course, that means you can’t just waltz in here and snoop around.
If you love history and amazing architecture though, you still won’t want to miss seeing the Palace and the other Magnificent Seven mansions nearby for a unique look into Trinidad’s past.
For more on these historical treasures, be sure to “Like” Save The Magnificent Seven on Facebook.
*Photo credit: Flickr user David Stanley.