Bridgetown is the vibrant capital of one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean sea, Barbados. When it was discovered by the British it was a deserted island and all that was left by its former inhabitants, the Atawak Indians, was a single wooden bridge. The small wooden structure crossed the mouth of the Constitution River which inspired its original name, ‘Indian Bridge’. Some time later it was shortened to Bridgetown after a new bridge was built in 1654. The area now boasts two bridges.
Barbados is famous for its white sandy beaches and almost constant sunshine. However, it is a multi-faceted island with an interesting historical past, main because of past links with the British Empire, the evidence of which is on constant display all over the island, to be enjoyed by those who visit. Bridgetown is the third oldest city in the Caribbean and has many tourist attractions. It has a vibrant commercial centre with its base on Broad Street where many shops, boutiques and retail outlets are situated, selling a wide and extensive aray of goods, where the odd souvenir and much more can be purchased at quite reasonable prices.
Central to the city’s activities is the Careenage, where the rich and famous moor their sleek and fancy yachts. It overlooks the parliament buildings which together conspire to enhance the scenic beauty of the area.
It has the third oldest parliament building within the British Commonwealth; built in 1639 it faces the National Square and embraces a gothic architectural style. Immediately opposite, stands the original statue of Lord Horatio Nelson, erected in 1813 and pre-dates by forty years, the other famous statue erected in his honour called Nelson’s Column, which stands proud in the middle of Trafalgar Square, in the heart of Central London, England.
Barbados was Britain’s 18th century military base for the protection of Windward and Leeward islands, rich in natural resources and of huge strategic military importance. In Bridgetown stands a Georgian style garrison built at the time to houses its army and has now been turned into a museum, housing and displaying many of the military artefacts which has been recovered from various places on the island. The museum is a popular place to visit because of its past military importance and a place which invites many photo opportunities, especially for the military enthusiast.
The St. Michael Cathedral is well worth a visit. It stands on Spry Street, East of The National Square.