One of the most well-known Bahamian historic sites in Nassau is the 66 limestone steps christened the Queen’s Staircase that lead to Fort Fincastle. Well over 200 years old, this attraction has been visited by travellers from all over the world.
Carved out of solid limestone rock between 1793 and 1794 by slaves, it was to provide a direct route for men and supplies from Bennet’s Hill, the site of Fort Fincastle, to Nassau City and its harbor. The staircase was later given its name to honour Queen Victoria, the United Kingdom and Great Britain’s ruler from 1837 to 1901.
Fort Fincastle, built on top of Bennet’s Hill around 1793, is a short walk up the 102 foot tall staircase. No longer needed for town or harbor protection, Fort Fincastle still offers great views of Nassau Harbour. Sit and imagine yourself as a sentinel looking at the distant horizon waiting to identify incoming ships as friend or foe while you enjoy the cool breeze.
Architectural Insight: The Arch Opening Heads on Doorways
The arched opening below is the front door of Fort Fincastle. Architects in our archipelago give the most important doors this flare to visually draw the eye to this spot on the building. Seen as a either round or elliptical shape, the arched doorway is sometimes accompanied by a window. Paired with steel bars, this is a hurricane safety precaution making shutters unnecessary.
Nassau’s Historic Landmarks by Gail Saunders and Linda M. Huber
A Living Tradition [Architecture of the Bahamas] by Stephen A. Mouzon
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Photos/ editing by: Emily Morley