Present-day Montserrat and ancient Pompeii. What are the similarities?
A city under the volcanic ash, hardened lava, abandoned houses... The atmosphere of chaos and fear still reigns in this area. The story happened to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii almost two thousand years ago repeated itself. This time, volcanic activity affected the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean Sea.
The first eruption happened in the summer of 1995. Ash from the awakened volcano Soufriere Hills rained on the island's capital – Plymouth, a popular tourist town of those times. Lava completely destroyed part of the island, burning down everything in its way, including the airport. Since then, life has stopped here.
Since people left Plymouth, the former capital has remained untouched. The population was evacuated in a hurry, that’s why people left their things, dishes, appliances and even food in refrigerators. Around Plymouth, on the hills, luxurious villas are still located – in former times it was the most expensive real estate on the island. Surprisingly, looters did not touch the city. For those who like wandering through abandoned places, this site is a paradise. However, walking on Plymouth is strictly prohibited, a fine awaits violators. But has it ever stopped real adventurers!
Today, only the northern part of Montserrat located on a hill is inhabited. The village of Brades with population of about a thousand people is the administrative centre of the island and a place where people are legally allowed to be. This is why tourists are attracted to Montserrat. It is not only incredibly beautiful, but also very mysterious.
There are two ways to get to the island: from Antigua or St Martin. The small John A. Osborne Airport works round the clock. Of course, it is preferable to get to the island by air. From small compact planes that operate between the Caribbean Islands, you should expect a stunning view of Montserrat. You can see its dense tropical forests and majestic volcanoes, the slopes of which are cut by deep gorges. You’ll also see the beaches with black volcanic sand and the former capital, which is easily identified by its pointed roofs and domes protruding from the layer of ash.
Montserrat is a real catch for those travellers who like peace and quiet. There are no trendy nightclubs, expensive restaurants or noisy crowded streets on the island. But you can wander along the mountain paths, as well as enjoy the nature and the active volcano from the special viewing platform – Jack Boy Hill. If you’re lucky, you’ll see lava flows from time to time reaching the sea.