Jamaica’s colonial mansions

Rose Hall, photo Sarah_Ackerman on Flickr

Jamaica has plenty of stunning scenery, beaches, reggae, sun and coffee, but another great thing that can be found in large numbers all over Jamaica are colonial mansions. Of course, the history behind these beautiful buildings is almost never pleasant, and they are a result of colonial exploitation, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are exquisite works of architecture. Jamaican Georgian architecture combiners the elegant lines of Georgian styles with the practicality necessary to survive capricious Jamaican weather. If you are an architecture enthusiast, or if you just want to learn more about Jamaica’s colonial history, here are some of Jamaica’s colonial mansions that are a good introduction to this topic.

Devon House, Kingston

Devon House is probably the most famous example of Jamaican Georgian architecture, and it rose to be one of the most popular attractions, and most celebrated historical monuments in the Jamaican capital. The grand mansion was built by Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel, in the 19th century. In addition to the beautifully carved fanlights, jalousied panels on the facade and sweeping central staircase, you can also see scores of British, French, Jamaican and other Caribbean antiques displayed in the house. After visiting the mansion, don’t forget to grab a cone of ice cream at the I Scream, one of the most popular ice cream shops in Kingston.

Historic Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay

Devon House, photo by Christina Xu on Flickr

What’s a huge colonial mansion without a scary story or two? Rose Hall in Montego Bay has a couple of creepy stories to tell, and a lot of architectural charm to show off. Rose Hall, built in the 1770’s by John Palmer, was passed down Palmer generations peacefully, until John Rose Palmer, who married Annie Mary Paterson, who supposedly killed her husband and several lovers afterwards with her magic powers. The legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall might unjustly slander poor Annie Palmer, but there are still reports of spirit sightings in the grand mansion. If you don’t get to see any ghosts, you can at least enjoy a tour of the house and its scenic beauty.

Bellefield Great House, St James

Like many other great houses that aren’t still private residences, the historic Belleville Great House has been turned into a visitor attraction. The mansion was at the center of one of the oldest sugar plantations in Jamaica, and it was built in 1974. The plantation owners lead an easy live of parties and fine dining, and guests who take a property tour can do the same. The Taste of Jamaica tour allow you to visit a miniature sugar mill, taste fresh can juice, visit the organic garden, see the jerk pit and learn to make jerk seasoning, and finally explore the rooms of the mansions and admire the artifacts within.

 

 

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