Haiti Local

Aerial view of the center of city of Port-au-Prince

Port-au-Prince (Kreyol: Potoprens) is the capital of the Republic of Haiti. It is also known in Haitian Creole, the nation's dominant official language, as Pòtoprens. It is Haiti's largest city and also the seat of Port-au-Prince Arrondissement. The city proper covers 36 square kilometers (14 square miles) with an estimated population of 1,234,742 in 2018, making it the second largest city in the West Indies and the 49th largest Latin-American city.

The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Port-au-Prince, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 2,618,894 people in 2016 and ranking as the 30th such area in North America.

Sheild of Port-au-Prince

Official shield of the City of Port-au-Prince


In terms of political importance, geographical position and sheer magnificence, the superlative city of the Republic is Port-au-Prince, the capital. Port-au-Prince is the centre of the political and intellectual life of the country and is the seat of the State University of Haiti (established in 1920).

Port-au-Prince is one of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere, founded on the Cul-de-Sac Plain in 1749 by sugar planters from France. It was the scene of several key events of the Haitian Revolution, such as 1791 uprising, the British occupation and withdrawal, and the Haitian Declaration of Independence. Upon Haitian independence from France, it continued to be an important port and export hub as well as a center for the arts and culture. Port-au-Prince was celebrated for its impressive public buildings, canals, theaters, and thoroughfares, many of which led from distant provinces. The most prominent features were the Morne l'Hôpital and the Morne Cabri. Both places overlooked the city, the hub of the entire nation.

Modern-day Port-au-Prince is located on a natural harbor on the Gulf of Gonâve which has allowed it to sustain more economic activity than other areas of Haiti.

The city has never expanded beyond its 36 square kilometer (14 square mile) land area. The Port-au-Prince area's many vendors make it an center of business and the city is considered to be a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. Recently, tourism has become an important part of Port-au-Prince's economy. Port-au-Prince's economic base also includes coffee, sugar, food, soap, textiles, and cement.

Port-au-Prince has reasons for both civic pride in its architecture and shame for staggering urban social problems not unlike the typical city.


Communications building; Downtown Port-au-Prince,


Turgeau neighborhood



Distinctive and Unique features

The Historic district of Port-au-Prince is arranged in a grid system, similar to that found in most colonial cities in the Caribbean. This grid system deteriorates into a maze of short streets, alleys, and unpaved roads farther away from the central squares. The heart of the city, where the majority of historical and political offices are located, is bisected by the Jean-Jacques Dessalines and by the Rue Pavée. Moving out from this heart are the business and residential sectors of the city. The most central neighborhoods are Morne-à-Tuf, Bois Verna, Poste Marchand, Bel-Air, and Croix de Bossales. Farther out are the neighborhoods of Bolosse, Carrefour Feuille, Turgeau, Cité-Saint-Martin, Bourdon, Canapé-Vert, Bois Patate, Babiole, and La Saline. Because of the growth of the city, areas even farther from the center of the city are now considered part of the larger metropolitan area. The neighborhoods of Cité-Simone, Village Lamothe, Cité-Saint-George, Delmas, Bois Caradeux, Musseau, and even Pétion-Ville and Thomassin are included in the city's activities.

Most of the historical sites are located in the central district, and are nearly all the city squares. Business and banking are generally concentrated in the neighboring municipalities of Delmas, and Pétion-Ville. Owing to the migration of large numbers of Haitian peasants into the city's urban areas, most of the mulatto elite have moved into the suburbs. Many businesses have followed, leaving the heart of Port-au-Prince relatively deserted. Only government officials, a few businesses, the poor, and the homeless remain.

The homeless fill the major neighborhoods of th city and have begun building on land previously considered too dangerous for construction. Whole neighborhoods have been built in the ravines leading down into Port-au-Prince, on land that is susceptible to natural disturbances. The houses, constructed predominantly from cinder blocks and tin, are massed together in such density that it would seem impossible for the inhabitants to live with any comfort. These areas are called bidonvilles (shantytowns) or cités carton (cardboard cities). The houses here have no services and residents survive by tapping water lines and stealing electricity.


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Port-au-Prince 1920

Port-au-Prince's early European settlers had first called the area Hôpital (after a hospital set up not far from the coast, on the Turgeau heights) but later renamed it Port-au-Prince after a ship named Le Prince which had sailed into the bay in 1706 to protect the area. The renaming was by a captain who had named the area Port-au-Prince (meaning "Port of the Le Prince"). The settlement was initially limited to the Randot habitation (near present day Downtown), at that time surrounded by farmland and the Cul de Sac Plain. The plain is thought to have been inhabited as early as 2600 BC. In 1697, the Spanish government led the signing of the Treaty of Ryswick, a key founding document of the city. Buccaneer ethics and their focus on security influenced its early history; Haiti's first hospital was founded in Port-au-Prince area in 1650. Over the next 150 years, the city participated in several wars, until the French were defeated and their allies.

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St Francis Xavier Institute. 1910, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Cap-Haïtien was the largest town in Hispaniola until Port-au-Prince grew larger in the mid-18th century. Port-au-Prince's proximity to the sea made it a lively port, and the city primarily engaged in shipping and fishing during its colonial days. However, Cap-Haïtien stagnated in the decades prior to the Revolution. By the mid-18th century, Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien surpassed all other colonial cities in wealth. Port-au-Prince encountered financial difficulties even as other cities in the region grew rapidly.

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1926. This is the capital of Port au Prince. Madan Sara. These are the businesswomen who’ve ran Haiti from the beginning

In 1749, the site of Port-au-Prince was mainly retained as the capital of Leeward Islands for military, administrative and economic reasons. Very quickly, after its foundation, would natural disasters disrupt its growth. In 1751, for example, two hurricanes and two trenches of earth destroyed almost all the houses in the city. Later in 1770, new devastating earthquakes led to an order prohibiting building other than wood or masonry between posts. Despite these misfortunes, during the colonial period, Port-au-Prince remained a prosperous city whose development and fortune were based on commercial relations linking the colony to the metropolis. This prosperity ends in 1791 with civil wars and the War of Independence. Many fires ravaged the city. A century later, ie at the end of the 19th century, the infrastructure of the capital improved (construction of schools, public buildings, a sewage system, public lighting, street repair...). The North American occupation marked the beginning of the rapid growth of the capital; the occupiers reorganized the administration, however, for political and economic reasons, they favored the centralization of activities in Port-au-Prince to the detriment of provincial towns and ports. After 1950, centralization and migration intensified thereby disrupting the urban environment. Towards the end of the century, the infrastructures improved, the industrialization developed but at the same time the urban problems multiplied: proliferation of the zones of precarious housing, densification and degradation of the urban center, alarming deficiency of the urban services, uncontrolled spatial extension, breakage of ecological balance etc.


Historic Port-au-Prince Tramways

As the commune and capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince has three communal sections. It is coastal, its climate is mostly hot. Its inhabitants are called Port-au-Princiens. It is the densest municipality of the country.


A global city, Port-au-Prince is not placed among the top most economically powerful cities in the world. Encompassing $15 billion, the Greater Port-au-Prince metropolitan area has the largest economy in the country and 149th-largest in the world.

Port-au-Prince's informal sector exerts a significant impact on the regional economy. Port-au-Prince attracts more than 350,000 merchants from around the region, who contribute more than US$4.8 billion annually to the city's economy. The area's streets are major employers and attract passengers and shoppers to the city and surrounding region. The city is home to a number of construction companies and is a hub for coffee and sugar, with many food-processing plants as well as factories of soap, cement and textile. As the national capital, Port-au-Prince is the center of the country's economy.

The city is considered highly innovative for a variety of reasons, including the presence of academia, access to venture capital, and the presence of many commercial and economic establishments. Haiti was the first country to accept the Caribbean Basin Initiatives and build an economic production zone near the airport. This zone as well as the Delmas corridor the continue to be a major center for capital investment, and trade remains an important sector.

Saturday is market day in Port-au-Prince; the chance to meet friends, gossip and shop draws large crowds to the Haitian capital. Sophisticated, French-educated members of the urban ruling class crammed into the market square beside illiterate farmers, a generation removed from slavery, who walk in from the surrounding villages for a rare day out.

Tourism also composes a part of Port-au-Prince's economy, with 1 million domestic and international visitors spending US$200 million in 2012; Haiti was a key tourism destination in the 1970s. The first flights came from the Bahamas, and then tour operators from Germany, Switzerland and France began offering Haiti as an extension to Bahamas, before they started to have flights direct to Haiti and full package tours were offered. Port-au-Prince played host to many cruise ships as well. Port-au-Prince's status as a national capital as well as the regional home of federal agencies has rendered law and government to be another major component of the city's economy. The city is a major seaport among the shipping lanes of the Caribbean Sea and one of the oldest continuously operated fishing and industrial ports in the Western Hemisphere.

Port-au-Prince is located on the Gulf of Gonâve, situated in a wide harbor on the southwestern coast of the Caribbean region’s second-largest island, Hispaniola. Port-au-Prince’s natural harbor has sustained economic activity long before Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the island in 1492, when the Arawakan-speaking Taino Indians inhabited the region. 

The financial services industry is important to Port-au-Prince, especially involving microfinancing and expansion of the financial sector. Haiti's central bank, the Bank of the Republic of Haiti, oversees 10 commercial banks and two foreign banks operating in the country. Most banking takes place in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Caribbean-based Sogebank helped popularize the mutual fund in the 1980s and has made Port-au-Prince the top financial center in Haiti. The city is home to the headquarters of Unibank, and is a center for the proliferation of branches to capture deposits and remittances. BNC, which specializes in energy credits and utility services, is based in the city. Port-au-Prince is a printing and publishing center —Haiti Print and Sign is headquartered within the city, along with numerous independent contractors. The city is home to several convention centers such as the BRH Conference Center in Downtown Port-au-Prince and the Karibe Hotel and Convention Center in Pétion-Ville. Hotels also double as special event venues in Haiti, citing factors including Port-au-Prince's preeminence in the realm of hospitality. Port-au-Prince is home to several major restaurants tending towards delicious French-Creole fare, including La Souvenance, considered by many to the city's best; La Table de Caius, Magdos, Arc-en-Ciel, and Tiffany's are also located within the city.



Port-au-Prince MUPHANA-Museum of Haitian National Pantheon

For tourists, the principal attractions are National Palace and the surrounding squares and monuments. The immaculate white National Palace is encircled by a wrought iron fence and stands as a symbol of political power. It is also now seen as a symbol of Haiti's developing democracy, a theme repeated in many statues along in the nearby squares. Statues commemorating the Marron Inconnu, the unknown Maroon who fought for Haiti's independence from French colonial rule, and honoring Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who fought for Haiti's independence from the rule of military dictators, are visible from the front of the National Palace. Haiti's historical museum of national heroes is also noteworthy. Built primarily underground, the museum houses national treasures including important works of art, photography, and natural artifacts. The National Cathedral, completed in 1914 and renovated in 1966 is in the area as well.

There are many examples of Victorian Colonial architecture, both great and small, to be seen in Port-au-Prince. The Victorian style, called "gingerbread" in Haiti, is characterized by extreme attention to detail and the embellishment in trim. Bright, pastel colors are often used to accentuate the woodwork. Unfortunately, many of these houses are in disrepair. Perhaps the best example of Caribbean Victorian architecture is the Hôtel Oloffson. Hotels in the Port-au-Prince area also support Haitian artists and craftspeople. For example, the intricately carved doors to the casino at the Hotel Montana in Pétion-Ville are entirely handmade by local artisans. Tourists may see other Haitian art at one of the many galleries scattered throughout Pétion-Ville, a wealthy suburb of Port-au-Prince. These Gallery specialize in all types of Haitian art, from the abstract expressionism of painter Yves Meus music to the intricate, folk beadwork of Haitian Vodun flags. Many of the galleries purchase particularly important works for resale at higher values.


Rue Capois Champs de Mars

Rue Capois, Champs-des-Mars

Port-au-Prince is built on a hillside, and it is set up in such a manner that neighborhoods are distinguishable from one another as travelers move up or down the hillside. This differs from other cities in that most locations have neighborhoods which are each contained within one small space; in Port-au-Prince they extend horizontally around the hillside. For example, one neighborhood rings the entire base of the hillside, so that one point of the neighborhood is directly across the hill from the other. That same point may be only a short distance from the next neighborhood which is just slightly above it in elevation.

This is important to know because the neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince are said to go up in value as they go up in elevation.


Year Population -/+
1830 26,000
1927 60,000 +131%
1950 134,117 +124%
1971 458,675 +71%
1982 449,831 -2%
1990 690,168 +53%
1993 752,600 +9%
1998 981,213 +30%
1999 990,558 +1%
2003 704,776 -29%
2009 900,000 +22%
2015 987,310 +9%
2018 1,234,742 +20%


Administratively, the City of Port-au-Prince is split into three Communal sections and further subdivided into thirty-one localities.

1. TUG 1re Section Turgeau

Localities: Bourdon, Boutilier, Canape-Vert, Deprez, Fort National, Turgeau.

2. MOH 2e Section Morne l'Hôpital

Localities: Carrefour Feuille

3. MTS 3e Section Martissant

Localities: Bizoton, Bolosse, Fort Mercredi, Martissant

Click here for a Port-au-Prince district map

Port-au-Prince Map

Commune map of Port-au-Prince, Haiti


Inauguration de la place publique de Canapé-vert.


Port-au-Prince is located at 18.5944° N, 72.3074° W. According to the IHSI, the commune of Port-au-Prince occupies an area of ​​36.04 square kilometers (14 square miles), of which 25.27 km² (70%) is urban and 10.75 km² (30%) is suburban and rural. It is bordered on the north by the city of Cité Soleil, on the Northeast by the city of Delmas, on the southeast by the town of Pétion-Ville, and on the west by the city of Carrefour. Port-au-Prince is situated at the western end of the Cul-de-Sac plain at the end of Port-au-Prince Bay, forming itself part of the Gulf of Gonâve. The city leans on the northern slopes of the Saddle Mountain Range, to its south, which is home to wealthy suburbs like Pétion-Ville. Port-au-Prince is traversed by some streams including the Bâtarde River and the ravine of Bois-de-Chêne.

The city itself is spread over 16 hills:

  • Saint-Martin
  • Sans-Fil
  • Bel Air
  • Canapé Vert
  • Bourdon
  • Fort National
  • Saint-Gerard
  • Turgeau
  • Pacot
  • Morne-à-Tuff
  • Poste-Marchand
  • Nazon
  • Bois-Verna
  • Bolosse
  • Nelhio
  • Fort Mercredi

Relationships between the City and the Outside


Port-au-Prince has always been a stratified city. It was once divided along lines of color and class, corresponding to the dividing line of the major metropolitan neighborhoods. This division is still evident as one moves from place to place in Port-au-Prince. The influx of Haitian peasants from the provinces is increased the heterogeneity ( the quality or state of being diverse in character or content) of these neighborhoods, as the result mainly of squatting and the rapid construction of poor housing in alleys and in largely deserted commercial areas. Now the city is the home of the poor, while the wealthy live in the suburbs higher up in the mountains, particularly in Pétion-Ville, Thomassin, and Fermathe. Interestingly, the Haitian poor refer to their places of residence in the city as "down here" and the places of residence of the more well-to-do as "up there", a phraseology that reinforces the strict class separation that has been named "class apartheid".

Because Port-au-Prince is bordered on the west by the ocean and on the east by steep mountains, it's physical growth is limited and it is thus increasingly unable to accommodate its mushrooming population. The massive surge in population density has led to a decline in the provision of services by the municipal government.

As the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince the center of all domestic and international activities. It is the most important city in Haiti, followed by Cap-Haïtien. It is the seat of all governmental and diplomatic operations, as well as the locus of most nongovernmental and missionary endeavors in the country. In effect, Port-au-Prince mediates the majority of formal, informal, and development activities that occur. The largest airport in Haiti is on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, making the city the first and last location that many travelers see. The airport has been on and off the U.S. Department of State's list of dangerous travel locations for many years, owing to poor security and concerns over air safety. And the turn of the 21st century (2000s), the airport was not on that list, but it's ominous reputation has remained. The notoriety of the Port-au-Prince airport is only one facet of the largely negative opinion that many people have about the city itself. As a result of Haiti's bad press, most individuals who have never visited Port-au-Prince expect a near-military state filled with homeless, extremely poor individuals infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Most Americans, even members of the American military, consider Port-au-Prince to be a dangerous city. Inhabitants of the city also recognize the extreme perils it presents, scrambling to be away from the downtown areas before dark falls and safety becomes harder to ensure. As time progresses, at the municipal government is unable to maintain infrastructure and security, the reality will soon meet the reputation. Ironically, most residents are fiercely loyal to their neighborhoods: while characterizing their own city as a dangerous place where crime and violence are common, each neighborhood is considered safe and protective of its inhabitants.

Major Languages

Haiti's major languages are French, Haitian Creole, and increasingly English. French and Creole share the title of official national language, as specified in the 1987 constitution. In the past, French was used as the official language for political and formal interactions. But since 7% or less of the population spoke French, this seriously restricted access to activities in the formal sector. Jean-Bertrand Aristide changed the constitution after becoming president in 1991, making Creole the official language of state. English is increasingly spoken in Port-au-Prince because of the presence of American dignitaries and military. Trade and migration have also encouraged the use of English in the city.

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Mural in Port-au-Prince


Regarding temperatures, they are regular all year round with an average annual temperature of 26.5 ° C (80F). The regularity of warm temperatures throughout the year is characteristic of tropical climates. Rainfall is relatively high, with an average of 51 inches per year. This average is slightly lower than the average rainfall in the country. This is explained by the location of Port-au-Prince in the Cul-de-Sac Plain, which experiences a much drier climate. Nevertheless, proximity to the ocean tends to soften temperatures by refreshing the air temperature. Port-au-Prince therefore benefits from a maritime influence.

In Port-au-Prince, 2 peaks of precipitation are observed, April-May then from August to October. Climatic analysis is important to understand the water course of rivers.


The non-profit Haiti Jazz, in collaboration with Caracoli and Haiti Music, came together to launch the new media library in Downtown Port-au-Prince recently. The House of Music (kay mizik la in Créole) was built as an archival storage space to house collections of Haiti's music history, its recordings, documented history, and music artifacts.

The European Union (EU) has subsidized the project. The motivation to create the media library was to develop awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of Haiti's cultural contribution to music arts. The EU's Cultural Secretary, Leandro Medeot, on hand at the launch, commented on the importance of developing and carrying forward the artistic and social influences of Haitian music. The House of Music will provide a forum for music industry artists, musicologists, and technology specialists to gather, share, explore, and define the evolution and impact of Haitian music on the cultural landscape.

The House of Music will offer music lovers the entire catalog of Haitian music, books on its history, and music artifacts. The modest yearly fee the House of Music plans to charge will be used to maintain staff and upkeep of the facility.


Young woman in Port-au-Prince

Director of Haiti Jazz, Milena Sandler, envisions a space where music professionals will hold education programs, panel discussions, seminars, and performances. She acknowledges the library budget is limited and "that all holders of works of the Haitian musical heritage will agree to share them with us, so that we can make them available to the public."


Champs de Mars



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Woman outside her construction training station. “I want to advise other young women like me to not choose only nursing, accounting, or secretarial work. Dare yourself to learn other trades.” Wideline comes from Carrefour-Feuilles.

The infrastructure of Port-au-Prince is considered by many to be non-existent. The municipal and state presence that should be evident in such a large political center is almost visible. Economic researchers suggest that municipal services and urban management in Port-au-Prince have failed, owing to the burgeoning ranks of rural migrants. Many of these migrants have no knowledge of municipal institutions that should be providing services, much less which services are being provided. Infrastructural changes, particularly improvement of service delivery, public health, and security, and have been recommended to improve the conditions of life in Haiti's capital city.

Public Buildings, Public Works, and Residences

All offices for the government of Port-au-Prince and of Haiti are located within the boundaries of the city. Of primary importance are the National Palace, the Legislative palace, and the Judicial Palace, which house the major national offices. The national magistrates, the national prison, and the remaining national offices are also located downtown. The offices of the city government of Port-au-Prince are situated in the same area, housed mostly in the Hôtel-de-Ville (City Hall). The bureaus of tourism and commerce are in the historic district, as are the headquarters of the National Bank of Haiti and of the public services. Port-au-Prince boasts several large parks; the most important of these is the Champs de Mars, flanked by the principal national offices. Diplomatic offices, bureaus, and ministries are scattered throughout the city, usually occupying large homes.

Homes in the city vary in style and in level of comfort. Some houses, particularly in the older areas, are large Victorian-style residences made of wood. Others are more modern, built of concrete, brick, and stone. Walls and gates surround most homes for privacy and protection; many of the fences are topped with razor wire or with shards of broken glass embedded in cement. In poorer neighborhoods, most dwellings are constructed from concrete blocks or tin. In the poorest neighborhoods, the houses may even be fashioned from plywood or cardboard. Because of the rapid growth of the city, dwellings that were originally temporary have become permanent, lending the city the appearance of a slum. Nearly all neighborhoods have a local boutique, where water and basic supplies are sold. Street merchants provide for the remainder of most citizens' needs.

Politics and City Services

Haiti is divided into ten departments, which are subdivided into arrondissements and communes. Port-au-Prince lies in the department of the West, and in the arrondissement and commune of Port-au-Prince. The offices of the mayor govern the city, but if the opinions of the citizens are correct, there is very little activity associated with the offices of the municipal government. The post office, library, courthouse, Chamber of Commerce, and most other municipal agencies are located in Downtown Port-au-Prince. Because of problems with delivery of services at a national level, most service providers are now private; telephone and electricity services have been privatized, with little improvement.


Education in Haiti



Public transport in Port-au-Prince

The educational system of Port-au-Prince is based on the system of Catholic education that has been in place since the colonial era. There are both public and private institutions, with the latter using French as the language of instruction. There are some private schools that provide English-language education, attended mainly by the children of dignitaries or by Haitian-American children whose parents refer that they be taught English. Although schooling is free, books, supplies, and uniforms are not and must be provided for each child.

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Haitian pupils

Because Haitians hold education with high regard, parents shoulder the expense of sending their children to school for as long as possible. There is massive overcrowding in the schools of Port-au-Prince. In the afternoon, as students are released from school, their brightly colored uniforms fill the streets. Traffic that arises from the rush of children at three o'clock leads most Haitians who transact business in the city to finish their affairs before they get caught in the rush.

Public schools in Haiti now teach in Haitian Creole, the native language of all Haitians, but this was not always the case. Because of the French colonial influence, classes were in French in a covered topics ranging from French history ti matrix algebra. The structure of the school system is similar to that of the French system, with several years in lower school and then in intermediate school and finally five years in upper school. At the end of the school program each year students take exit exams, which stress memorization and rote repetition over problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Evaluations of the educational system suggest that it is lacking in the provision of most skills. High rates of attrition and poor attendance lead to low academic performance in Port-au-Prince schools. Particularly for schools that service children of the lower socioeconomic groups, educational opportunities may be affected by the need to work to meet a family's daily needs.

The premier university in Haiti is located in Port-au-Prince. The State University of Haiti and it's accompanying medical, dental, and law schools are situated near the National Palace. Experts who have assessed the university system have concluded that improvements should be made in course content and in administrative structure to make the university a successful institution again.

The Ministry of the National Youth and Sports Education is headquartered in Port-au-Prince as well as the various offices involved in the management of other offices and annexes of the Department or the entire country. Over 200 private Kindergarten were inventoried. At the primary level, twenty six public and dozens of private and congregational schools were inventoried. Fourteen public high schools, numerous private, and six Congregational were also listed.



Executive Director of Haiti's State University Hospital ouside the hospital in Port-au-Prince


Elementary School in Port-au-Prince

The Ministry of Public Health and Population is headquartered in Port-au-Prince. With regard to the health facilities and staff attached to the latter, a high concentration was observed at the level of the commune in relation to the other municipalities in the country. Hundreds of doctors, dentists, nurses, and auxiliaries were counted in the health facilities of the commune.


With regard to the availability of water, in addition to the drinking water supply network that hardly covers the commune, there is currently a number of Community fountains (28) at the neighbourhood level that allow people to feed a little more Easily in drinking water. Most of the commune of Port-au-Prince is electrified.



Sanitation service in Port-au-Prince

Chicago and Port-au-Prince were both founded by men of Haitian descent, but that is where their similarity ends. Chicago built its own underground sewer system for both waste water and storm water back in the 1856. Port-au-Prince, one of the largest cities of million people, has no sewer system. It is noteworthy to mention that just 4 years ago, the country faced the worst epidemic of cholera in recent history; more than a half-million people have gotten sick and the disease took the lives of more than 8,231 Haitians. The cumulative sewage and garbage of over 3 million people flows through open ditch. Every night, few 'bayakou' workers remove the cesspools that collect deep bogs of human waste from man-sized holes (fifty-cubic-metre) under Haiti's backyard latrines and dumped them into the city canals. During the rain, these wastes spill over the city environment before going to the sea. People living seaside, use over-the-sea hanging toilets and during emergency, they use some sort of plastic bag and throw the dirt out on the streets.

The U.N. senior coordinator for cholera response in Haiti has estimated that the building of a nationwide water and sanitation infrastructure would cost around $1.6 billion. But Haiti certainly can't afford to undertake such projects, and the international community does not seem very willing to help. A national project is very much needed to tackle the challenges of sewage in Haiti that will protect the public against certain preventable diseases, create many necessary employment and countless new jobs and a decent living condition will contribute towards the development of tourism in the country to give the country the much needed economic boost. The authorities must make clear what they really mean by reconstruction when there is no plan to deal with raw sewage, and there is no access to clean water for the average Haitian.


In terms of Administrative and judicial infrastructures, the commune of Port-au-Prince has several police offices (including commissariats and substations), including the Ministry of Justice, the courthouse, the peace courts and state offices Mainly in sections (North, southeast, etc.) following the place where they are located in the commune.


Downtown Port-au-Prince


Despite Port-au-Prince's heavy reliance on non-motorized forms of transport, streets are a defining feature of the city. Port-au-Prince Metropolitan Area's street grid plan greatly influenced the city's physical development. Several of the city's streets and avenues, like Delmas 2, are also used in planning. In addition, many roads in the municipality become impassible after rain storms, when water and mud fill the streets.

Public transportation exists in the form of taptaps, converted pickup trucks or minibuses that run regular routes for a small fare. Taptaps are usually very colorful painted trucks whose beds have been converted into covered seating. Most of these vehicles are named, and citizens of Port-au-Prince often have preferences for which they choose to take from one destination to another. Taptaps connect all of the major neighborhoods with one why they each other, tie in the suburbs with the rest of the city, and link the city with the rest of Haiti to some degree. They are an informal-sector response to a municipal need, serving at the primary mode of transportation for many Haitians. In addition, they carry agricultural and other goods to the markets in Port-au-Prince, supporting the largest and most important economic activity in the country.



Nearly 173 temples (cathedrals, churches, chapels and resorts included) were counted in the commune. A diversified number of religions have been identified in the commune, the names of the latter vary depending on the mission or the person in charge.


Forty-three Political parties have representation in the commune. Ten Popular organizations, women's groups, twelve NGOs and eighteen international organizations were also inventoried in the municipality.



Casino; Port-au-Prince

In the area of the telephone, the municipality has an administrative office, a telephone exchange and several ancillary offices distributed almost throughout the municipality. In addition to the Central postal office and its annexes, the municipality benefits from the service of at least ten other private institutions occupying the mail coming mainly from abroad. In addition, fifteen radio stations, eleven magazines/newspapers and two television stations were also listed in the municipality.



Domino's in Port-au-Prince

As for leisure, the commune of Port-au-Prince has ten libraries, three cinemas, two theatre halls, and two museums. The sports are football (soccer), volleyball, basketball, tennis, athletics, and martial arts. For monuments and sites, they are mostly of historical type. The commune of Port-au-Prince is one of the communes that has the most public squares. There are about twenty scattered in most of the commune with a high concentration going from the Champ de Mars to the level of the National Palace.


Sylvio Cator Stadium; Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Twin towns and Sister cities[]

Port-au-Prince currently has four sister cities, as recognized by Sister Cities International:

New York City, NY, USA
Miami, FL, USA
Boca Raton, FL in the United-States, as well and Montreal, in Quebec, Canada.

External Links, sources[]

Transport in Haiti: http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/architecture/media/LU_6_Transportation_Simms.pdf

Six lessons from rebuilding Port-au-Prince [1]

Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors[2]

Encyclopedia of urban cultures; Grolier, pp. 446-54

Haiti History 101 [3]

"Presentation of the municipality of Port-au-Prince [4]

Michael Vedrine