Explore Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2011, Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison received the honor of being listed as a World Heritage Site; an enormous achievement for Barbados and well deserved for its critical role played in the colonial expansion of the British Empire within the Americas in the 17th, 18th and 19th century.

Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison being one of the earliest founded towns quickly established itself as a major port for the importation and exportation of goods, sugar and enslaved people for collection and distribution within the British trade network in the Americas. The port was heavily guarded and thus protected Britain’s trade interests and development as the garrison was home to the Eastern Caribbean headquarters of the British Army and Navy. Barbados being the most easterly positioned Caribbean island contributed significantly to it becoming a hub for the dissemination of British technology, communications, and cultural norms.

By signing the UNESCO World Heritage convention, Barbados agreed to preserve Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison with a supporting mandate in 2011 to manage this historic national treasure and ensure that the country continues to observe its obligations with the convention.

Today, Bridgetown is the capital city of Barbados, with the combined cultural likeness of its architectural history and modern-day infrastructure. The city has stayed true to its commercial heritage, as it is the primary hub of trade and business, and center for the island’s only trading-port, facilitating imports and exports. Explore the city further and you’ll discover much of the buildings used have kept the character, function and historic architecture of the British colonial era.

In fact, if you’re an attraction seeker or history buff you may enjoy taking a tour of these 10 top rated tourist attractions in Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison.

  1. Ann’s Fort

Built in 1705, this military base was named after Her Majesty Queen, Ann. Currently, it is home to the Barbados Defence Force, and The Barbados National Armoury Museum, which possesses the only Elizabethan cannon known in existence.

  1. George Washington House

In 1751, George Washington, the 1st President of the USA, visited Barbados and stayed in this House. You’ll find numerous artifacts, displays and historic furnishing, showcasing what it was like to live in Barbados over 250 years ago during the period of slavery.

  1. The Barbados Museum

Established in 1930, it is housed in what was once the British Military Prison. It showcases artifacts of the Amerindians, the island’s natural history, 18th-century plantation house furnishings, a rare historical map of the island and so much more.

  1. Garrison Savannah

What was once the British military parade ground, since 1845 this historic site has been home to oldest operating horse racing track in the western world. It began when military officers raced their horses against the wealthy merchants of the day.

  1. Parliament Building

Built in 1874, by a Gothic Architecture, this historic building is home to the House of Assembly and Senate of Barbados. Visit the west wing and you’ll find The Barbados Museum of Parliament and the Barbados National Heroes Gallery.

  1. National Heroes Square

In 1813 at this site, the Barbados Government in an effort to celebrate the victory gained in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 unveiled the statue of Lord Nelson, who had visited the island during that period.

  1. Michael’s Cathedral

Rebuilt in 1784, this prestigious church of the city is an outstanding emblem of history and architectural greatness. In colonial times it was the church of the elite, which still holds true today as it is the burial place of Prime Ministers and prominent officials.

  1. Nidhe Israel Synagogue

This historic Jewish house of worship and its museum chronicles the important contribution the Jewish community made to our then developing sugar industry. Explore artifacts, and interactive displays showcasing their realistic experience and account.

  1. Queen’s Park

Today, though a designated park, it was once the home of the Commanding Officer of the British military, which was constructed in 1783. Enjoy the chants of its natural birdlife and discover the grand Boabab tree, which is said to be over 1000 years old.

  1. Chamberlain Bridge

In 1872, what was once the location of the wooden built ‘Indian Bridge’ by the indigenous people became the site of the then new swing bridge financed by the contributions of Joseph Chamberlain who was the Secretary of State for Colonies at the time.

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