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What is now one of the most lively cities in Trinidad today began as a tiny fishing village that the Amerindians, Trinidad's original descendants, named "Anaparima," meaning "single hill". This reference was to what is now known as the San Fernando Hill, the city's most popular landmark. Today, San Fernando is one of Trinidad's largest commercial centers (second only to Port of Spain) and is home to a large number of locals of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
The Carnegie Free Library in San Fernando is named for a Scottish-born American philanthropist named Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie gave the Borough Council 2,500 pounds for the project in 1911 and eight years later, the library opened its doors. Its intricate concrete design, particularly the main entrance on High Street, is quite an eye catcher. The library currently has a membership of over 17,000 and offers diverse volumes to every age group. The library also facilitates children's outreach programs, as well as competitions for children, storytelling, class visits, book talks, workshops on culture, arts and crafts, and reading.
The first structure for what is currently known as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in San Fernando was built in 1823 by Father Onesime Christophe of Guadaloupe. That structure was demolished and rebuilt in 1950 by Father Sabastien Webber, a Benedictine monk. The current structure was dedicated in June, 1975. Previously known as the Notre Dame de Bon Secours Church, parishoners and residents of South Trinidad are calling for Our Lady of Perpetual Help to be elevated to cathedral status.
Harris Promenade is perhaps the most notable landmark in the Southern city of San Fernando. The Promenade was built in the late 1800s in tribute to Lord Harris, who was Governor from 1846 to 1854. The area is well known for its ambience, with its greenery making for a suitable backdrop for people requiring a break from the hustle and bustle that surrounds it. The Promenade has been remodelled over the years, however, some of the original elements have been preserved. One recent additon is the Wall of Honour, which pays tribute to notable "San Fernandians" and others. Another new feature is the amphitheater, where live concerts are put on and enjoyed by spectators.
In 1834, a wooden structure that was called Town Hall was built at the corner of Harris Promenade and Penitence Street in San Fernando. In 1930, a foundation stone was laid by the then Governor, Sir Alfred Claud Hollis, and the original building was replaced in 1931 by the one that still stands today. The design of the building, which consists of three floors, suggests a Roman influence. Over the years, the original building has been extended and today, City Hall consists of many different sections.
On October 20, 1990, the Naparima Bowl officially reopened (it had been destroyed by fire in 1977) and the artistic world breathed a sigh of relief. The "Bowl" consists of a 500-seat spacious, very well lit and air-conditioned auditorium, and a 40-foot wide stage, along with rehearsal and dressing rooms. An interesting feature of the "Bowl" is the open-air amphitheater that has not been used since its stage was destroyed in the fire. Today, the Naparima Bowl is used for cultural shows, concerts, queen shows, conferences, dance, music and art festivals.
The concrete life-size statue of Sundar Popo the iconic Indian chutney singer stands majestically in his home town of Monkey Town. It is a painted statue showing Popo standing poised to sing in his signature red jacket and white pants. The song that launched his career is "Nani & Nana" though he is best known for his hit "Scorpion Gyul." He sadly died at the age of 56 in 2000. -Nadia Ali
The Piparo Mud Volcano is located in central Trinidad along a road that leads you all the way to Piparo from the highway exit at Gasparillo. The area sits on a hilltop and today is covered by grass that is broken by areas which are bubbling mud. The mud is not brown in color, but a grayish concrete color, and is fairly thick, like pudding. Once there, you can hear the rumblings and occasional burbs of mud. The volcano area itself no longer poses any eminent danger. It first exploded in 1997 and covered one square mile in size, displacing 31 people from their houses. There are no signs to reach here, so you need a tour guide; contact the information provided to arrange a visit. - Nadia Ali