Wherever you might be in Halifax, at whatever corner of the town you may be located in, when you look up, you will see the Citadel, a distinctive structure rising up majestically in the skyline. Getting here is also very easy. All you have to do is climb the hill that dominates the center of this city, and soon enough you find yourself closing in on the star shaped fortress. If you are on the harbor side, there are stairs leading to the fortress and if you wish to drive, there are two narrow roads leading up the hill.
In the 18th century Halifax held the reputation for being one of the four important overseas naval stations in the British Empire. It was to defend Halifax that this citadel was built in the 19th century and it took 28 years to build. However, it never got to see any action and it has never had to fire a weapon in aggression. The Halifax Citadel was designated as a National Historic Site in 1951.
Today, Halifax Citadel is looked after and operated by Parks Canada and is a major tourist attraction in this area. The Citadel is a great example of what 19th-century bastion fortification was all about and visitors get to see ramparts, defensive ditch, musketry gallery, signal masts, and powder magazine here.
Visitors to the Citadel can take part in guided tours which are conducted for free. You will be taken around the compound, into the barracks and even into the walls of the fortress. There are even audio-visual presentations and you can also see several modern exhibits in the Citadel. Every day at noon, the gun in the Citadel is fired, and it can be heard throughout the city. The people you spot wearing period clothes in the Citadel and conducting guided tours are actually soldiers of the 78th Highlander regiment.
Even though the grounds are open throughout the year, the Citadel is only open from May to October. Tourists who arrive in the winters will find that there are no services available for them in this season. The only exception is for Christmas, when the Citadel hosts a Christmas celebration in the Victorian style. Yet another big day is the Canada Day on July 1, when the fortress is free and there are several activities to celebrate this day.
The Halifax Citadel definitely merits a trip, even during the off-seasons. The view from the Citadel is breath taking and the walk up the hill is also pleasant. The military museum also has a lot of interesting exhibits and you can spend some time at the library here. Should you feel a little hungry, you can head towards the coffee bar and for souvenirs of your memorable visit, there’s always the gift shop.
Address: 5425 Sackville St, Halifax, NS B3J 3Y3, Canada
Phone: +1 902-426-508
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Featured Image: Bailey Parsons
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