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Historic Area of Willemstad, Curacao
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Raven
N 12° 06.330 W 068° 56.000
19P E 507254 N 1338220
Quick Description: Willemstad is the capital of the island of Curacao, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Four of its historic districts were placed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.
Location: Curaçao
Date Posted: 3/24/2013 8:13:46 PM
Waymark Code: WMGNN2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Tervas
Views: 12

Long Description:
Willemstad, the capital of the island of Curacao -- a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands -- has four distinct historic districts: two of them -- Punda and Otrobanda -- are separated by the St. Anna Bay, an inlet that leads into a large natural harbor called Schottegat. Two other two -- Pietermaai and Scharloo -- are located near Punda on the East side of the Bay.

Each of these four zones houses several historical buildings whose architecture reflects European urban-planning concepts all the while incorporating styles from both the Netherlands and Spanish and Portuguese colonial towns. All four districts (Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai & Scharloo) were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1997 based on, quote: "the basis of cultural criteria considering that the Historic Area of Willemstad is a European colonial ensemble in the Caribbean of outstanding value and integrity, which illustrates the organic growth of a multicultural community over three centuries and preserves to a high degree significant elements of the many strands that came together to create it."

Punda (English: "The Point") was established in 1635 and is the oldest district of Willemstad. Originally known as the "De Punt" by Dutch settlers, it was translated to "Punta" in Papiamentu -- the Creole language of the island -- and later bastardized to "Punda". Its 18th century buildings at the bay (an area known as the "handelskade") are frequently photographed for their unique Dutch architecture and colorful Caribbean tones.

Otrobanda ("The Other Side") was established in 1707 on the other side of the St. Anna Bay, when the settlement of Willemstad on the "Punda" side of the St. Anna Bay started to fill up. While also rich in architecture, it was until recently overshadowed by Punda and left in disrepair.

Pietermaai is a narrow strip of land east of Punda between the sea and the Waaigat, another small harbor. Just like Otrobanda, it was settled when Punda had no more room for expansion. It is named after Captain Pieter de Meij who came to Curacao in 1674.

Scharloo lies to North and Northeast of Punda. It used to be the residence of the Sephardic Jews who built their elegant Italian-style mansions in that area, once Punda was all filled up.
Type: Site

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katinka3 visited Historic Area of Willemstad, Curacao 3/14/2015 katinka3 visited it
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