The UNESCO sites in Barbados

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There is an astonishing number of UNESCO sites in Barbados. The small Caribbean island used to be among the top producers and exporters of sugar during the 17th century. The result – a rick colonial architecture preserved under UNESCO heritage fund.

Today, Barbados is famous for it’s friendly people, festivals, nice beaches, relaxed atmosphere, and rich cultural heritage. If you plan to visit the island, do not forget to obtain the online travel Customs and Immigration Form – the Barbados ED Card.

Apart from the wide beaches and the warm sea, here are some of the most important UNESCO sites in Barbados:

Bridgetown

The capital of Barbados was designates as World Heritage Site in 2011 aiming to preserve and protect Bridgetown’s historic and cultural heritage for the generations to come. It also raises awareness of the city’s significance on a global scale.

The key reasons for Bridgetown’s UNESCO 2011 designation are:

  1. Historical Significance: Bridgetown has a rich history dating back to the 17th century when it was established as a British colonial town. The city played a crucial role in the development of the British Atlantic trade and was a hub for commerce, particularly the sugar and slave trades.
  2. Architectural Heritage: The city features a variety of historic buildings and structures that reflect its colonial past. Notable examples include the Parliament Buildings, the Chamberlain Bridge, and the Careenage.
  3. Cultural Diversity: Bridgetown has been shaped by a diverse cultural heritage, influenced by British, African, and other Caribbean cultures. This diversity is evident in the architecture, customs, and traditions of the city.
  4. Role in Atlantic Trade: As a major port city, Bridgetown was a focal point for the transatlantic slave trade and the movement of goods between the Old World and the New World.
  5. Connection to Global History: The city’s history is closely tied to broader global historical events, including the colonization of the Caribbean, the development of sugar plantations, and the impact of the Atlantic slave trade.

The Garrison

The Garrison was established during the British colonial period to serve as a military installation. It became the headquarters of the British Windward and Leeward Islands Station in the 18th and 19th centuries. The area includes a variety of historic buildings and structures, many of which have been well-preserved. The Garrison site includes:

  • George Washington House: This house is believed to be where the first President of the United States, George Washington, stayed during his visit to Barbados in 1751, in his only trip outside North America.
  • The Main Guard: A military guardhouse that dates back to the 1800s.
  • The Clock Tower: Erected in 1803, the clock tower served as a timepiece for the military.
  • The Barbados Museum and Historical Society: Housed in the former military prison, the museum showcases the history and culture of Barbados.
  • St. Ann’s Fort: Originally built in the 1700s, this fort has undergone various modifications and was part of the island’s defense system.

The Garrison is not only historically significant for its military role but also for its architectural and cultural heritage. In 2011, UNESCO granted the site, along with the capital, the World Heritage title due to its significant importance to the Caribbean history. While exploring The Garrison, visitors can better understand Barbados’ past.

George Washington House

One of the most visited buildings in the Garrison is the House once visited by the first president of the United States, George Washington. Back in 1971, young Washington visited Barbados and stayed a sugar cane plantation known at the time as the Bush Hill House. The George Washington House is important for another reason too – Barbados is the only destination outside North America visited by him.

In 2011, accidently was discovered a network of underground tunnels, a drainage system, linking the House to the plantations. These tunnels were also meant to be used as an escape route in case of emergency.

Nidhe Israel Synagogue

One of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere. It has a rich history dating back to the 17th century, and it is closely associated with the Jewish community that settled in Barbados during the colonial period. The synagogue is a symbol of religious diversity and cultural heritage of Barbados and remains an important cultural and historical landmark on the island.

Charles Fort

Another construction from the Garrison site is the Charles Fort – one of the military fortifications that contributed to the defense of the island during the colonial period. Built in 1650 and reconstructed in 1811, the fort played strategic role in the defense of the British Caribbean colony.

Morgan Lewis Windmill

The sugarcane wind mill is another construction in the borders of The Garrison. Perfectly preserved it gives idea of the landscape of old Barbados when sugar has driven the economy of the region. The windmill represents the technology and infrastructure used in sugar production providing insights into the island’s agricultural history.

Rihanna

Not part of the World Heritage Site, Rihanna is what made Barbados and its festivals a famous around the globe. In 2018, Rihanna was appointed as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Barbados, with a focus on education, tourism, and investment. This formal role strengthens her connection to Barbados and allows her to contribute to the country’s development on a diplomatic level.

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