Tourist Attraction in Roseau: Église de Notre-Dame du Bon Port du Mouillage de Roseau
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Fair Haven in Roseau, originally known in French as the Église de Notre-Dame du Bon Port du Mouillage de Roseau, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Roseau, the capital of Dominica in the Caribbean. The church is the seat of the diocese of Dominica, suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Castries, Santa Lucia. The cathedral is an example of the European influence of creole in Dominica. Built in the Gothic Romanesque revival style, the consecration of the Cathedral, in its current form, dates back to 1916. Although it may seem small from the outside, the interior is spacious and well lit. The position of the cathedral in the southern part of the city of Roseau, on the banks of the river Roseau, which ensures a good water supply. The availability of a large ground floor on the south bank of the river also dictated the location of the cathedral. The cathedral is located north of the Fort Young Hotel and north-east of the Dominica Museum. The Roseau church was initially a small wooden hut with a thatched roof made of local cane available. The caribs built the cathedral in the local building tradition. In 1727, the plot of land was first examined for construction. Three years later, in 1730, Father Guillaume Martel established a permanent church. He designed and built a 12-meter (5-foot) solid wood (wood-frame) church and stone floors to meet the growing needs of the congregation of settlers from France and occupied territory on the south coast of the island nation. In April 1796, Agostino Brunias was buried in the Catholic cemetery, located on the site of the church. This church survived until 1816 when it was destroyed by the hurricane. Even the current church, built 24 years later, located on the same site, was inadequate to meet the growing needs of churchgoers. This was the result of the abolition of slavery and the permission of former slaves to attend ecclesiastical services. The whites and blacks sat together to worship in the desks without discrimination. The started expansion program took almost 100 years to complete its current form. Additions to the cathedral began with a bell tower built in 1855, followed by a wooden ceiling for the cathedral in 1865 by the Kalinagos who cut and brought simaruba trees from the northeast of Roseau; it took three months to build the wooden ceiling. During this time a large stone pulpit was also erected. This stone pulpit was carved by prisoners who were kept on the Isle of the Devil (located off the coast of French Guiana). In 1873, at the south-east end, the chapel of St. Joseph was established together with a crypt where bishops and priests could be buried. In 1853, the city and the parish had a population of 6,000 Catholics. Since the Catholic ministry did not support construction activity, the Catholic community brought stones to the site to build the church. A hurricane in 1863 caused substantial damage to the cathedral, which required the collection of funds not only for its restoration, but also for many other churches on the island, also destroyed by the hurricane. The funds were collected by imposing a levy on French farmers. The cathedral was formally consecrated in 1925 by the bishop James Morris. After 1925, only small additions were made in the form of electrical connections, a public address system and a clock.