10 reasons why St. Andrew is an exceptional place in Jamaica
The parish of St. Andrew is one of 14 parishes in Jamaica. Parishes are similar to cantons in Switzerland, but with far less political and administrative power, since Jamaica does not have a federal system of governance. St. Andrew was established by law in 1827 and amalgamated with Kingston in 1923. Although St. Andrew is much larger, many parts of the parish are generally regarded as Kingston. Yet there are several aspects of St. Andrew that make it unique. Here are just a few:
Of all the parishes, St. Andrew has the largest population with well over half a million people.
The island’s two main reservoirs, Mona and Hermitage are in St. Andrew. With the Mona dam located in a large sub-urban part of the city, it is a magnet for joggers. Mona Dam on YouTube
Close to the Mona reservoir is the University of the West Indies which began in 1948 with an undergraduate medical program for 33 students from across the Caribbean. Today university is among the highest-ranking tertiary institutions worldwide https://www.mona.uwi.edu/
The residence and offices of the Prime Minister, head of government and Governor General, the queen’s representative are in St. Andrew. Kings House, where the Governor General resides, was built on a 22-acre property in 1872. The Prime Minister’s Office, which shared that property, was built after Jamaica gained independence in 1962. More on Kings House
St. Andrew has Jamaica’s largest botanical gardens and zoo. Hope Botanical gardens was established by the government in 1873 on 81 hectares (200 acres) of land from the Hope Estate. Hope Zoo was opened in 1961 with a wide range of animals, some endemic to the island. http://hopezookingston.com/
Devon House is a great house built by Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel, in 1881 and designated a national monument by the Jamaica Heritage Trust. Today it is among the most visited locations in St. Andrew for history, culture and gastronomy. More on Devon House
Several other locations in St. Andrew are designated heritage sites because of their significance to Jamaica’s history and culture. They include the St. Andrew Parish church founded in 1664, Half Way Tree Court house built in 1807 now closed to the public; Cherry Garden Great house formerly owned by one of Jamaica’s national heroes George William Gordon, as well as Shortwood Teachers College founded in 1885 the earliest tertiary institution for women.
Newcastle Military Training centre was established in the hills of St. Andrew in 1840 to protect British soldiers from the fatal yellow fever. It is nestled in the Blue and John Crow Mountain National Park, a UNESCO heritage site and popular among hikers. New Castle Training Depot
St. Andrew possibly has more shopping venues, including plazas and malls than anywhere else in Jamaica. Its commercial zone starts at Crossroads along Half-Way-Tree road up to Half-Way-Tree square (St. Andrew’s capital) which links to Constant Spring road that goes to the foot of Stony Hills. Just about everything you want to buy can be found along this approximately 8-kilometre route.
Bob Marley’s home and studio in St. Andrew was converted into a museum that attracts visitors worldwide. It is quite close to the Governor General’s residence; symbolic of Marley’s ‘rags to riches’ story. More on the Bob Marley Museum
For more on the Parish of St. Andrew visit these links:
Heritage sites: JIS Heritage Sites
Also visit our gallery for contemporary Jamaican/Caribbean fine art: EJ Art Gallery