Kourou in French Guiana

Friday, 15 September 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Kourou beach © Arria Belli/cc-by-sa-3.0

Kourou beach © Arria Belli/cc-by-sa-3.0

Kourou is a commune in French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France in South America. Kourou is famous for being the location of the Guiana Space Centre, the main spaceport of France and the European Space Agency (ESA). It is an administrative district in French Guiana and the main town there. The town had a population of 24,805 inhabitants at the 2020 census.

Some 60 km (37 mi) northwest of the French Guianese capital Cayenne the Kourou River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. At the mouth of this river sits the town of Kourou, which is ringed by four hills: Carapa, Pariacabo, Café and Lombard, with the Singes and Condamine mountains not far behind. There are three lakes within the town’s city limits: Lake Bois Diable (where one can take lessons in jetski and other aquatic sports), Lake Marie-Claire (the smallest and calmest), and Lake Bois Chaudat (the biggest of the three; also open to sport lovers, especially canoers and kayakers). Long white sand beaches and some rocky outcrops line the town’s ocean coast, the riverbank and all points inland consisting mostly of mangrove and dense tropical rainforest.

Guiana Space Centre © Dagomys The Dreyfus Tower on the Pointe des Roches © Arria Belli/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kourou beach © Arria Belli/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kourou beach © Arria Belli/cc-by-sa-3.0 Christmas fair © Arria Belli/cc-by-sa-3.0 City centre © Cayambe/cc-by-sa-3.0 City centre © Cayambe/cc-by-sa-3.0
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The Dreyfus Tower on the Pointe des Roches © Arria Belli/cc-by-sa-3.0
Kourou was formerly the home of the “Kourou Prison” which was one of the main prisons in French Guiana, and which was also a part of the notorious Devil’s Island Prison System. The Kourou Prison was dedicated mostly to agriculture. In 1852 the three main islands off of Kourou’s coast, the Salut island group (which included Devil’s Island) also became prisons. These island prisons held mostly political prisoners, as well as some of France’s toughest criminals. The first prisoners arrived in 1862. In 1938, a law was passed prohibiting the transport of any new prisoners from France to French Guiana. In 1946 eight years later, the Kourou Prison was finally shut down, while some prisoners were kept in other Guyanese prisons until as late as 1953. After the closing of the prison, most of the prison buildings were demolished to make room for the Hôtel des Roches, but some vestiges of that period remain. One notable remnant of the prison is the Dreyfus Tower, which stands where the river meets the ocean. This tower was used in pre-radio days to communicate with the islands via Semaphore. Other prison ruins that remain are the prison bakery — now on private property, but still visible from a cul-de-sac — and an old prison fountain near the moucaya palm trees.

In 1965, the Guiana Space Centre was founded a little behind the town by the CNES. With the launch facility being used by the European Space Agency since 1975, the urbanisation of Kourou began in earnest. The 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment of the French Foreign Legion, whose mission is to protect the CSG, has had a base in the Forget neighbourhood since 1973. They clashed with the Creoles in 1985 and 2006.

Read more on Wikipedia Guiana Space Centre, Wikivoyage Kourou and Wikipedia Kourou (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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