Colonnade building on Broad Street.
The Colonnade building in Broad Street is a two storey high old building with a pink and white facade. It now houses the fancy Dacostas Mall which has more than 30 shops selling duty-free jewelry and perfume, beachwear and souvenirs - basically the sort of Mall that would be visited by people on a cruise-ship.
Even if you are not buying, the sight is very pretty.
Carnegie Public Library building
The Carnegie Free Library of Barbados dates back to 1906 when Andrew Carnegie gave Bridgetown a grant to built what would have been the first Carnegie Library outside of Great Britain and North America. This library, like many other old buildings in the city, is made of coral-stone building and was built in the English Renaissance style. Exactly 100 years later the library closed down due to a lack of funds, necessary to restore the building, which has a collection of nearly 130'000 books.
If you are a stamo collector, this library can be found on one of four stamps issued by Barbados on August 1, 1972 as part of a set of stamps commemorating International Book Year.
Barbados Mutual Life Building
The old Barbados Mutual Life is now used by the First Citizens Bank branch. Its full name was Barbados Mutual Life Assurance Society Building and it is built in Victorian style in 1895.
It's very elegant in its grey colour and elaborate iron work. The towers have silver domes and the 2nd floor presents an interesting overhanging verandah.
independence arch and independence square
Independence Arch, right next to National Heroes Square, was built to celebrate Barbados Independence, which had taken place in 1966. It is all covered by national symbols and the island's coat of arms.
The square was once called Trafalgar Squarebut again, with the independence of the island, it changed its name. There are four sculptures there:
- a memorial to the Barbadians killed in WWI and WWII
- a bronze statue of Lord Horatio Nelson
- a clamshell-shaped fountain
- the statue of Errol Walton Barrow, Barbados' Father of Independence (see photo)
St. Michael's Cathedral
St. Michael's Cathedral is a pretty cathedral built, like the Parliament buildings, in coral stone. It dates back to 1789, and it replaced a 17th century church, made of wood, that was hit and destroyed by possibly the only hurricane to have hit the island.
Sights not to miss:
- the stained glass windows
- the 1600s baptismal font
- the roof over the altar resembling an inverted boat prow
-the graveyard, where you can see the grave of Sir Grantley Adams. You haveheard tha name before; the airport is name after him. He was the first chief minister of Barbados and the first and only Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation.
The old British parliament buildings are located on Broad Street and are eally imposing, especially if you happen to be there at night. Built in neo-gothic style, they are the city's main landmark: between 1870 and 1874 they were the home of the Barbados Parliament.Take a good look at the stone in which they are built: coral limestone
The buildings are divided in two wings: the Senate and House of Assembly (east), clock tower, government offices, the National Gallery, and the Parliament Museum (west). Entry is 10 Barbados dollars but keep in mind that it tends to close early.
This is another one of those landmarks that gets completely ignored by tour guides. We drove by it on two different tours, and the guide didn't even bother to point it out. This one is understandable, as it has no real historical significance, but I still think it's a shame. I think they should mention it, as it is old, and is one of the city's grandest, and most beautiful buildings. Since the guides won't mention this beautiful building, I will.
This beautiful Victorian structure was built in 1895. It's most notable and unique feature, is its full verandah on the second floor, which fully encircles the entire floor.
The building may look like some sort of grand hotel, or even a cathedral, but throughout its entire existence, it's only housed businesses, which is probably the reason its ignored by tour guides.
Despite its lack of historical significance, the building is a photographer's dream, and it impossible to walk by, without at least taking a quick glance.
The building is located on Lower Broad Street, the city's main shopping street, right next to the blue KFC. It's impossible to miss, as its one of the tallest buildings in town, so its towers are visible from several areas in town.
It's worth stopping to admire, if you're doing some shopping on Broad Street.
This is the main attraction of the city, and probably the most famous landmark in all of Barbados. Type in "Barbados" in any image search, and I guarantee you, you will see this building somewhere on the first page.
The Bajan Parliament is actually the third oldest Parliament in the entire British Commonwealth, after Colonial Virginia, and Bermuda. It was established in 1639, after a battle took place in present day Oistins, between the Royalists and the Roundheads, who wanted independence from Cromwell's England. However, the buildings themselves are actually much newer, only having been constructed in the 1870s. In fact, before the construction of these buildings, the island's Parliament, was held upstairs, in a small tavern, in another part of town.
The Bajan Parliament actually consists of two separate buildings, the West Wing and the East Wing. The more attractive, and more photographed of the two buildings is the West Wing, which at first glance, may easily be mistaken for some sort of cathedral. In fact, when I first saw pictures of this building, I thought that's what it was. I was actually surprised to find out it's the Parliament building. I thought it was maybe converted from a cathedral, so I was even more surprised to learn that it wasn't.
The buildings were actually designed in a Gothic style, and were originally patterned after the English Parliament, which was disbanded in 1707. The buildings are constructed from a mixture of limestone and coral.
The building's famous clock tower, was originally part of the East Wing, but was dismantled and reassembled at the West Wing, because poor soil conditions at the East Wing, caused it to sink 10 feet into the ground.
Today, the buildings are part of the Garrison Savannah UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are reminiscent of the British Victorian era.
Despite being the seat of Government for the island of Barbados, the Parliament buildings also house the Barbados National Heroes Gallery, and the Museum of the Parliament, both of which are open to visitors. Unfortunately, we were there on a Saturday, so the buildings were closed.
Apparently, you can only visit on weekdays, with a tour at, 11 and 2, when the Parliament isn't in session. But for me, it was enough just to see these beautiful structures from the outside.
- Historical Travel
Also known as Independence Square, and National Heroes Square, Bridgetown's Trafalgar Square is one of only two Trafalgar Squares in the world. The other one is of course in London, England. Contrary to popular belief, this square was not named after the famous square in London, but after the Battle of Trafalgar, which took place in Spain in 1805. Believe it or not, this Trafalgar Square, actually pre dates the famous Trafalgar Square in London, by about 3 decades. This Trafalgar Square was built in 1813, almost a decade after the battle, while the famous one in London was built in 1840. So London actually got the idea for Trafalgar Square, from their Caribbean colony. The name was changed to National Heroes Square in 1999, but these days, most people still refer to it as Trafalgar Square, or Independence Square.
The square has 3 main features. The main feature is the statue of Lord Haratio Nelson, located at the west end of the square. The statue honors Haratio Nelson, a British flag officer in the Royal Navy, who was killed in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. He also played a pivotal role in the Napoleonic Wars, and even lost an arm and sight in one eye. Because of his bravery, he is still considered one of the greatest heroes on British history.
More about Haratio Nelson, here.
The second notable feature of the square, is the small obelisk. Located right in the center of the square, the obelisk honors Bajan soldiers who were killed in World War I.
The third, and least notable, but also nice feature, is the fountain, located at the east end of the square. Unfortunately, it wasn't flowing when we visited.
In addition to some British history, the square also offers the best views of the Parliament Buildings, one of the island's most recognizable and most photographed landmarks.
I still don't know why they named the square after THAT particular battle, why they out it here in Barbados, and why London copied them.
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Sort of the unofficial city gate, the uniquely designed Independence Arch, greets pedestrians, as they enter downtown Bridgetown. The arch was built in 1987, at the southern end of the Chamberlain Bridge, which was probably built on the site of the original Amerindian bridge, which the city is named after. The arch was constructed to commemorate the 21st anniversary, of the island's independence. Engraved on the top left corner of the arch, are the numbers 1966, the year of Barbadian independence.
In the center of the arch, sits the island's Coat of Arms, bearing the national motto "Pride and Industry".
Some other important symbols that are depicted, are the Flying Fish and Pelican, two important national symbols, as well as the broken trident, which is found in the center of the island's flag, and symbolizes the breakaway from British Colonial rule. These are found in the top two corners of the arch.
During November, the month of Barbabdos's independence, the arch lights up with the island's national colors, blue and gold.
Though significant, the arch isn't really considered a tourist attraction. It's not something that people come specially to see, or even take significant notice of. It's just something that's there to greet pedestrians, as they enter the city. But it does have significance, and it's worth stopping for a minute to take a picture, and appreciate it.
Visitors are usually greeted by street vendors, and locals yelling, "Taxi!" In our case, however, we were also greeted by a creepy beggar, as soon as we walked onto the bridge. I think he was mentally ill. He scared me a little, but luckily, he left us alone. But that is not the first thing you want to see, when you're about to enter a new city.
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Some places of worship are worthy of exploration – after all this what could show best the local inhabitants and what they are all about. At the same time places of worship can be a tricky point where many views converge, compete and fight. Well, all the better – now we have society in full blossom. Barbadian example did not wait for very long to pop out of the “woodwork”. A casual walk in Bridgetown proper can underline some of the currents and undercurrents that are in motion nowadays and leave the foreigner jaw-dropped. This is one case where the image floats better on its own while food for thought is being supplied in grand quantities.
I couldn't find any information about these columns. Perhaps if I had paid more attention when I was there and looked for a plaque or something then I would have more to tell you. However, I did not and will have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life.
Museum of the Parlaiment
We were attracted to this museum primarily because of the structure that it's in; it's beautiful. We went in because truthfully there's little else to do in downtown Bridgetown if you don't want to shop for jewelry. And... man, it was hot out!
So we went in. It was interesting to read about the history of Barbados, its role in the slave trade, and see old photos of Bridgetown. And, it was nice to be inside that beautiful structure.
And it only cost $5 per person. I was happy to have contributed something in return for some knowledge and some comfort
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You'll surely come across this gothic structure if you explore Bridgetown on foot. The parliament buildings have undergone renovations and modifications over the years, but the basic structure was completed in 1874.
Parliament consists of the House of Assembly and the Senate. Visitors are welcome to watch the proceedings in the House of Assembly, which take place every Tuesday (Visitors are referred to officially as 'strangers' so don't feel offended if you get a referred to as this ;-)
Open from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
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Cross Island bus ride
Only about 8 hours to see Barbados so we took a bus trip across the island. From Bridgetown to Bathseba and back. Bathseba is on the east coast of the island and swept by the Atlantic Ocean.
The center of the island is mostly old sugar cane fields. During the 1800's and early paert of the twentyth century the sugar cane factories were powered by windmills. today the mills do not operate any more but the towers of the old dutch style mills were frequently seen as we drove back to the west coast.
As we neared Bridgetown we passed a statue of a former slave with his arms raised over his head and broken chains hanging from his wrists. This is the freedom statue celebrating the freeing of the slaves by the English Queen.
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