The Republic of Haiti occupies the western part of the eponymous island. Haiti is the second-largest in the group of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean, West Indies. It is washed by the Atlantic Ocean to the north. To the east the country borders with the Dominican Republic.
Christopher Columbus has discovered the island in 1492 and called it Hispaniola. Most of the population (90%) - descendants of Negro slaves, about 9% - mulatto. Official language - French, but most local people speak Haitian Creole, formed on the basis of French with borrowings from English and Spanish languages. Almost all the population professes Christianity (Catholic - 80%, Protestant - 16%), but according to unofficial statistics, 50% of Haitians also practice \"voodoo\" - pantheistic African cult.
The climate of Haiti is tropical trade wind. There are two rainy seasons during a year: from April to June and from September to November. At other times the weather is dry and warm (average monthly temperature is about + 22 - 28 C). Devastating tropical hurricanes occur mainly from June to September. The relief of the country is mountainous. Earthquakes are frequent here. Most of the forests were destroyed. There are practically no wild animals (crocodiles are found in small amounts), but various birds and insects.
The capital is Port-au-Prince. Its main attractions - the cathedral of Santa Maria, where Christopher Columbus, his brother Bartolomeo, his son Diego and grandson Luis are buried; the Haitian Art Museum of Saint-Pierre College, with a superb collection of paintings, the National Museum, Marche de Fer (“ Iron Market”) district, where weapons and iron of XVII-XIX centuries, and numerous articles of tin in the African style are sold. Tourists are advised to avoid visiting a slum area on the northern end of the city.
There are several excellent national parks in Haiti.
Mardi Gras Carnival in Port-au-Prince, beginning on Wednesday of Lent, starts a string of festivals and carnivals held throughout the country. Visit to the country should be designed so, that it will coincided with numerous Haitian holidays.