At the southeastern end of the Florida Keys is Key West Island, the southernmost point of the continental United States. If you visit this unique place, you will surely be absolutely enchanted by its beauty, just as the writer Ernest Hemingway was in the past.
Right at Key West Airport, you may be a little confused where you find yourself – visitors are greeted by the words “Welcome to the Republic of the Congo”! The name The Conch Republik could be translated as “Shell House” and was declared here in 1985 by the local government. It was a bit of a joke, but at the same time a serious protest against the US government’s decision to put border control on the highway connecting the city of Key West and other islands with the mainland. The government wanted to prevent drug smuggling and the intrusion of illegal immigrants into the American interior. However, due to the disapproval of local residents, who considered the act an insult and discrimination, strict controls were eventually lifted.
According to anycountyprivateschools, Key West is a completely different area that cannot be compared to the rest of the United States, and that is what the people of the islands wanted to draw attention to by declaring a non-existent republic. Although American law applies here, the country, due to its exoticism and romance, looks like it already belongs to Central America. The island is located 157 km off the coast of Cuba, which testifies to the rich intermingling of cultures. The original inhabitants of the island were the indigenous Indian tribe Calusa, which, however, was expelled or killed by Spanish colonizers after the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The Spaniards settled here and founded the village of Cayo Hueso. In translation, this name sounds a bit scary, because it is “Island of Bones”. The inhabitants here subsisted mainly by picking up cargo from the wreckage of ships that ended their voyage on coral reefs or shoals.
After the Spaniards, the British and immigrants from the Bahamas, called the Conch, also came here. However, the true native islanders are still proudly referred to as the Conch. Therefore, when the name for the new republic was coined in 1982, the Republic of Konč was clearly chosen. Today, around 24,000 people live here, most of whom have Cuban ancestors. However, it is also interesting that in the past, Key West was spoken of as a Czech city. Almost a tenth of the population was Czech-speaking. These were mostly illegal immigrants who came here on an ordinary tourist visa, found a job and have already stayed here. You will come across Czechs and Slovaks who were enchanted by the beauty of the island and became sea wolves in Key West even today, although not to such an extent. Many have returned home, due to the low dollar and also interesting job opportunities in Europe.
In addition to the Czechs, famous writers and poets also sought refuge on the island in the past. The most famous inhabitant of Key West was undoubtedly Ernest Hemingway, who came here with his second wife Pauline on the recommendation of a friend of the writer John Dos Passos. The Hemingways bought a house where they had lived for eight years. Today, this house serves as a museum for its admirers. Another important visitor to the island was the playwright Tenessee Williams, who wrote the play “Tram to the Station Desire”. Today, Key West is home to a variety of artists who hold public meetings and creative workshops each year. In addition to the color of the island, there is also a large community of gays and lesbians.
The capital of the island is the eponymous Key West, spread over 19 square kilometers on the southern tip of the Florida Keys archipelago. The houses in the town shine with pastel colors and have beautifully decorated verandas. The town is pleasant, clean and will delight you with its historic beauty. It is crossed by the main street Duval Street, where you can shop whatever you can think of and you will be in the very center of events. The shops are full of handmade souvenirs and a variety of items from around the world. It is possible to meet people from all over the world, but most often, of course, with American tourists, who complete the unique local atmosphere. The town is full of energy, offers a lot of entertainment and you will definitely not be bored here. One of the attractions is a ride on a traditional historic train, which will introduce you to all the important places. During your visit, don’t forget to visit one of the renowned restaurants, where you can taste seafood specialties, especially mussels. While sipping wine, you can have fun karaoke or dreaming of live traditional music.
The town of Key West hides many other attractions, such as a botanical and forest garden, a sea aquarium or a museum of treasures that were caught from sunken ships. If you are interested in bizarreness and extremes, a visit to the traditional Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum will be unique. At the very end of the city you will come across a monument that states that you are located in the southernmost part of the USA accessible to ordinary tourists. Precise calculations prove that even further south lies the private island of Ballast Key, which, however, ordinary people just can’t get to. Key West itself is accessible by highway from Miami or by water.
As the island is surrounded by beautiful azure blue water, it attracts divers from all over the world. There are various species of fish and a beautiful coral reef in the sea. If you have no experience with diving, no worries! Just sign up for one of the diving courses and you have won. Fishing enthusiasts will also enjoy themselves here, who, with a little luck, can catch a very large swordfish. Beginner fishermen have the opportunity to contact one of the local agencies, which offer trained instructors for deep-sea and sport fishing. If you just want to relax and enjoy the surrounding beauty, rent a cruise ship and sail around the island. Watching the sunset in Key West will then become an unforgettable experience.