CUR TravelGuide 02.04.20 - Flipbook - Page 61
Lively Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage City. St. Anna Bay
divides the city in two with Punda in the east and Otrobanda to the
west. The two are linked together by the Queen Emma Bridge.
In the past, Willemstad was known as a trading port for products from
the surrounding Spanish, French and British colonies. In total, the
districts of Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai and Scharloo are home to
some 765 listed buildings.
Derived from ‘punta’ in Spanish, Punda was established by the Dutch
when they first occupied the Spanish-controlled island in 1634.
The new rulers built Fort Amsterdam to protect their colony. The
city soon began to grow and today Fort Amsterdam serves as the
center of government. Present-day Columbusstraat, Madurostraat
and Handelskade are where the Protestant Dutch merchants had
their homes, shops, offices and warehouses. The basic layout of the
area, with its grid of narrow streets, retains its original character.
Handelskade is the familiar face of Willemstad. Its Dutch colonial
architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries sports a uniquely
Caribbean color scheme unlike anywhere else in the world.
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