United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

 

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In 1980, UNESCO launched an international safeguarding campaign for the monuments and sites of Haiti. The campaign was primarily concerned with Citadelle Laferrière, known for the imposing bulk of its geometrical structure and as a symbol of emancipation of black slaves. When the new republic came into being in 1804, the principal leader of the Haitian revolution, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, ordered General Henry Christophe, who would later become king, to build the gigantic fortress, whose construction engaged some 20,000 men. Covering a surface of about a hectare, it was built on the summit of a 970-metre peak, the better to protect Haiti should the colonial forces return to attack.

The citadel is one of three monuments in the National History Park included on the World Heritage List in 1982. Designed by Joëlle Paryski, the medal’s obverse features a view of the fortress, inscribed Haïti La Citadelle, UNESCO 1981. The reverse bears the inscription Les armoiries du Roi Henry Christophe, 1767-1820, Bâtisseur de La Citadelle (The arms of King Henry Christophe, 1767-1820, Builder of the Citadel). In the middle is the king’s coat of arms, a crowned phoenix rising from the flames, with stars in the firmament and the words, Je renais de mes cendres. (I am reborn from my ashes.) The medal was issued in 1981.

Available in gold, silver and bronze

Photo © UNESCO/N. Burke

© UNESCO 1995-2008 - ID: 26437