Table of Contents

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Charlotte Amalie Explore the Island
Government House Paradise Point
99 Steps MountainTop
Blackbeard's Castle Drake's Seat
St. Thomas Synagogue Fairchild Park
Seven Arches Museum Magens Bay
Market Square West Indian Company Dock
Frederick Lutheran Church The West End
Fort Christian Estate St. Peter & Botanical Gardens
Legislature Building Tillett Gardens
Grand Hotel Bluebeard's Castle
Emancipation Garden Coral World

Charlotte Amalie

No visit to St. Thomas would be complete without exploring Charlotte Amalie. Fascinating architecture, beautiful houses of worship and intriguing museums are just some of the things to discover while walking through its narrow streets. Many of the buildings used as shops today where once the warehouses of pirates!

Government House: On Kongens Gade you will find Government House, which houses the offices of the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is a white brick-and-wood building, with a typical Caribbean red roof and intricate ironwork. It has a fantastic view of the town and harbor. Government House was erected in 1867 as a meeting place for the Danish Colonial Council. In 1994 it was renovated.
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99 Steps: The town's famous 99 Steps (actually there are 103) rewards those who make the climb with a spectacular view of the harbor. This stairway and others on St. Thomas were built in the mid-1700s as a result of impractical planning by Danish engineers who had never set foot on the island. They decreed that the city be laid out in a grid like pattern, which meant building steps into nearly every hillside. The bricks used to construct the steps were originally brought from Denmark as ballast in the holds of sailing ships.
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Blackbeard's Castle: Near the top of the 99 Steps lie the remnants of Fort Skytsborg, the 17th-century fort that today is known as Blackbeard's Castle. Recently designated a National Historic Landmark by the federal government, it was originally constructed by the Danish colonial government when the Virgin islands were still under their rule. Its name refers to the pirate Edward Teach, known as the infamous Blackbeard, who allegedly frequented the island and used the tower as a lookout hundreds of years ago. Don't mistake this for Blackbeard's Castle!
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The St. Thomas Synagogue: Definitely worth a visit regardless of your faith. This is one of the most historically interesting and best preserved buildings on St. Thomas. The Western Hemisphere's second-oldest synagogue (the oldest is on Curacao), this temple was constructed in 1833 by Sephardic Jews. The original structure was built in 1796. Since some of the earliest Danish settlers were Jewish, the temple played an important role in the spiritual life of the colony. A fire destroyed the first synagogue in 1804, and the second was dismantled to make room for a larger third, which also burned. In keeping with the Sephardic tradition, the floor of the current structure is covered with sand, symbolizing the ancient flight of the Jewish people out of Egypt and across the desert. In June 1996, the congregation celebrated its bicentennial. Adjacent to the synagogue is the Weibel Museum, where exhibits depict the Jewish community's role on the island. 
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Seven Arches Museum: Right next to the Lieutenant Governor's House, is a tiny alley, along this passageway, a few yards down and to your left, you'll find  a two story brick building named for the seven arches that support its "welcoming arms" staircase. Once a 19th-century Danish artisan's home, it has been lovingly converted into a museum by its owners. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people that lived there. The house is decorated with furniture that is representative of a middle-class Danish lifestyle.
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Market Square: On the west end of downtown Main Street is Market Square, where African slaves were once sold to the highest bidder. The original auction blocks have been covered with a roof and  the square now serves as an open-air produce market. Saturday is the day that is the most fun to visit the market because it is the busiest, but most days have their share of local excitement and flavor.
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Frederick Lutheran Church: , You will find the early-19th-century Frederick Lutheran Church, with its sweeping stairway, on Norre Gade, just east of the Grand Hotel. Georgian in style, it was built in the 1780s, and has been rebuilt several times, resulting in the addition of its Gothic Revival trim. You will see antique chandeliers and 19th-century plaques inscribed in memory of several Danish colonists.
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Fort Christian: Across the street from Vendor's Plaza is Fort Christian, immediately recognizable by its brick-red color. It was built by the Danish in the 1670's. It is the oldest building still in use on the island. It was used as a fort, a courthouse, a police station and a jail with the building now housing the largest historical museum in the Virgin islands.  Its present Gothic revival clock tower and north facade were built in the 1870's. You can climb to the top for a view of the harbor and the neighboring Legislature Building.
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Legislature Building: This lime-sherbet hued building is typical of the graceful island architecture of a century ago; note the coat-of-arms painted on the exterior walls. Originally erected as a barracks for Danish troops the building later served as housing for U.S. Marines and as a public school. One of the high points in the old building's history was its use in 1917 as the site of ceremonies transferring ownership of the Danish Virgin Islands to the United States. Walk-in tours are offered.
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Grand Hotel: Not far from Emancipation Park, is the Grand Hotel. Built in 1841, it is an excellent example of 19th-century architecture. It is no longer a hotel. It now contains along with shops, a visitor center.
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Emancipation Garden: Located across from the Grand Hotel, which was built in 1841, is a small park commemorating the 1848 proclamation that freed the slaves. A reproduction of Philadelphia's Liberty Bell occupies a corner of the grounds. There are large shade trees, park benches and a white gazebo which make the park an ideal spot to take a rest. The park underwent landscaping renovations and in 1998 served as the site where the 150th anniversary of the emancipation of the slaves was honored.
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Exploring the Island

Taking a drive or guided tour of the island will take you to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean as well as a multitude of activities and sights that will make your stay even more memorable.

Paradise Point: Paradise Point, which is just outside of town,  offers spectacular views of Charlotte Amalie and of the Caribbean Sea. The Paradise Point Tramway, which is located opposite the cruise-ship dock, carries sightseers 700 feet above sea level. It is considered one of the best spots to watch sunsets. Also located there are a bar and restaurant and gift shops.
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MountainTop
:
The signs pointing the way to MountainTop will lead you along Route 33 to the summit of St. Peter Mountain, where you'll find more sensational panoramas. The view of Magen's Bay is stunning from here. Fifteen hundred feet above sea level, MountainTop is a popular rest stop and shopping area and claims to be the original home of the banana daiquiri. You can even get your picture taken with a straw hat wearing donkey!
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Drake's Seat: Overlooks more than 100 Virgin Islands spread out where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. According to legend, British privateer Sir Francis Drake watched the ships passing through what is now called Drake's Passage from this point. You can pull off the road and enjoy the same view he did from this lookout point, although there are a few more houses.
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Fairchild Park: A gift to the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands from philanthropist Arthur Fairchild,  the park is home to some of the finest tropical foliage on the island.
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Magens Bay
:
Magens Bay is home to one of the top 10 beaches in the world. There is a beach bar & grill with waiters who roam the beach delivering frozen daiquiris to tourists lazing in the sun and there are barbeque facilities. Public bathrooms are also available.
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West Indian Company Dock
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This is where the cruise ships come in to port and is also the location of Havensight Mall, a large shopping area that can be quite crowded when there are a number of cruise ships in port.
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The West End: The road to the western part of the island will take visitors past the airport and the University of the Virgin Islands to Brewer's Bay, an ivory-sand beach popular with the locals. Nearby is the Reichhold Center for the Arts. Visitors can enjoy performances by some of the best ballet companies, chorale groups and repertory companies in the world. Talented singers, dancers and actors come from the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean region and other countries to perform at the state-of-the-art facility. The theater seats 1,196 patrons. The 356 upholstered seats in the lower area are protected by a high-winged canopy roof, which also accommodates sound and lighting equipment and acoustical clouds. The open-air upper area is divided into three sections separated by flowering shrubs. Comfortable contour benches accommodate 840 people, and shelters provide protection if it rains.
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Estate St. Peter Greathouse & Botanical Gardens: At the corner of Route 40 and Barrett Hill Road, nestled high in the volcanic peaks of St. Thomas is Estate St. Peter Greathouse & Botanical Gardens. It consists of 11 acres at the foot of volcanic peaks an the northern rim of the island. The gardens have self-guided nature walks through the estate and its exquisitely landscaped grounds offering you a look at some 200 varieties of West Indian plants and trees, including an umbrella tree form Madagascar. The house itself is worth a visit where you can view local artwork on display.  Offering panoramic views of more than 20 Virgin Islands is an observation deck, 1,000 feet above sea level.
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Tillett Gardens: , Tillett Gardens is a center for local artists and performers which is located in Anna's Retreat, in the Tutu area of the island. It was once an old Danish farm whose grounds were transformed by Jim Tillett, an English silkscreen artist who arrived on the island in 1959, into what he calls "a peaceful sanctuary of creativity and wonderment."  You will find silkscreen prints, enamel jewelry and other handcrafted items in the workshops and stores. The brightly painted bar is a great spot to have a cool drink. Two programs Arts Alive, a festival of visual arts, and Classics in the Gardens, a concert series are held at Tillett Gardens.
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Bluebeard's Castle: On a hilltop east of downtown you'll find Bluebeard's Castle Hotel, where stands a stone tower. According to legend, it was built by Bluebeard for his one and only true love, Mercedita. In reality, the stone fortress was built as a watchtower to help with the defense of Fort Christian. It became privately owned in the early 1800s.
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Coral World:  A must for all visitors to St. Thomas! At this beautifully landscaped marine park on Coki Point you will experience, without getting wet, a 360 degree view of ocean coral reef 20 feet below the sea through a unique underwater observatory, one of only three in the world. Don't miss the Predator Tank, home to sharks, moray eels and other predators. There are scheduled shark feedings and guided tours. Enjoy the restaurant, ice cream shop and distinctive gift shop.
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