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Paramaribo


Paramaribo
The Historic Inner City of Paramaribo was rewarded because the city is a "gradual fusion of European architecture and construction techniques with indigenous South America materials and crafts".

The designated area is limited to the streets between Sommelsdijkse Kreek to the north and the Viottekreek to the south. Notable buildings include: Fort Zeelandia, Presidential Palace, Ministry of Finance, Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Paramaribo was named after a nearby Indian village. Early development by the Dutch colonists started in 1667. Most of the buildings here are built entirely in wood, and very vulnerable to fires.

Visit August 2013

Paramaribo is a large, sprawling city. I explored it on foot during my first day here in Suriname. As my guesthouse was located in the outskirts of town, I had to walk quite a bit in the constant dry heat. There are a lot of cars and buses on the roads, it all seemed relatively prosperous and lively. It took me about 40 minutes to reach the “Waterkant”, the stretch near the Suriname River where the area with the best quality colonial buildings starts. Along the way in the commercial city center there are some old wooden buildings too, but these are dilapidated and almost hidden among the gold jewellers, the casino’s and the Chinese supermarkets.


The historic core zone is also blessed with quieter, leafy streets. The wooden mansions, all white, are of a size that could only have belonged to wealthy colonials or government buildings. Here also lies Fort Zeelandia – a very small fortress in typical Dutch style. The surrounding officers houses in my opinion are the greatest examples of the wooden architecture of Paramaribo. This whole area is in a brilliant state of conservation by the way.

I was the first to enter Fort Zeelandia that day. They had no change available yet to break my 50 Suri dollar bill, but the friendly man on guard waved me in and said I could pay later when I left. The inner court of the Fort looks unbelievably Dutch, thanks to the use of red brick I guess.The Fort now holds a museum, with a few simple but entertaining exhibition rooms.


North of Fort Zeelandia lies Independence Square. The central square itself was fenced off, maybe in preparation for the coming national holidays and festival, or because of restoration purposes, I don’t know. Fortunately I could still walk on the surrounding road, and admire the grand Presidential Palace and the Ministry of Finance (a classical brick building with a clock tower, not unlike Independence Hall in Philadelphia). A bit further north lies the Cathedral, almost the only building in the historic area that isn’t white. Yellow and blue-grey are its colours, and it’s all made of wood. Together with the cathedral of Georgetown (Guyana), which I hope to visit in a few days, it’s the largest structure of its kind.


I really enjoyed my walk around Paramaribo – it’s a hassle-free and friendly city, with a large number of high quality colonial buildings that is unique in the Caribbean world.

Click here to see more of my photos of Paramaribo

Reviews

Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
I flew from Trinidad to Georgetown, in Guyana, and then I crossed to Suriname. There was no control at the river border.
In Paramaribo I visited the downtown, which Dutch colonial houses are under the UNESCO list of Patrimonies of the Humankind, and after two days visiting the city I continued hitchhiking to French Guiana. One of the drivers invited me to spend the night in his house. The next day I reached the river border with French Guiana.
This time there was a control at the border. Fortunately the agent was Indian, very human, and when Iexplained him that I did not know that I needed a visa, he let me cross to French Guiana, but advised me to get the Suriname visa in Cayenne in my way back to his country.
I promised him to do it.
So, one of the first things that I made in Cayenne was to apply for my Surinamese visa.
After observing the launching of the Ariane from Kourou, and visiting the island of the Devil (described by Papillon), I returned hitch hiking to Suriname. At the border I met the same Indian agent, who remembered me. I proudly showed him my Surinamese visa and he smiled satisfied.
From Paramaribo I continued overland and over-river to Georgetown, in Guyana, and some days later I flew back to Trinidad Island.
In all, in the three “Guyanas” I spent two weeks time.
Date posted: July 2013
Kavita (Suriname):
The architecture of Suriname is very unique. I'm sorry to know that not everyone is aware of its importancy. I hope the awareness will grow someday.

I think everyone who gets the chance to visit Suriname, should do it. Fort Zeelandia, the Mosque and the Synagogue are places to be. One should visit places like Brownsberg, do a plantatation and dolphin tour. I'm sure the visitor will enjoy every moment of the trip to Suriname.
Date posted: July 2009
Arun G. Jairam (The Netherlands):
Paramaribo is one of the most beautiful and excited cities in south america. It has a great history. Which can be seen by the streets and houses. Its a small city, but with great people from different origines (hindi, creool, javaans, chinees, indiaan, bosneger, europeanen). Further more it has wonderfull jungle areas and sightseeing places, like new nickerie. The food/drinks are great.
I think everybody should have visit Suriname for one time it his/hers life. The climate is warm with a cool breeze. The people are great and welcomes everybody who visits the country. The history of Suriname and Paramaribo is nice and colorfull. It tells about the dutch, britisch, spanisch and portugeese influens during the past centuries. Wonderfull and nice houses, churches, buildings, etc. Go and see for your self. Greetings,
 


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Site info


Historic Inner City of Paramaribo
Country: Suriname
Inscribed: 2002
Cultural Heritage
Criteria:  (2) (4)
Category: Urban landscape, Colonial

Site history:
2002 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription
1999Deferred
Bureau - for imp of various recommendations

Site links


Official website:
»Heritage Suriname

In the news:
» UNESCO threatens to remove Paramaribo from list (05-11-2013).

Related links:
» Suriname Museum at Fort Zeelandia.
» Traveladventures.

Getting there


This WHS has 1 location(s).

Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, is served by direct flights from the USA, Netherlands and Brazil. The Historic Inner City covers a relatively small but easy to find area near Fort Zeelandia.

Connections


Architecture
Brick architecture . Gothic Revival . Neoclassical architecture . Wooden architecture .
Constructions
Clock Tower . Historic Cinemas . Octagons . Prison . Sites of Parliament .
Geography
Atlantic Ocean . Situated in one of the "SIDS" .
History
Assassinations . Fusion . WIC .
Religion and Belief
Cathedrals . Jewish religion and culture . Protestantism .
Timeline
Built in the 17th century .
Trivia
Built or owned by British . Built or owned by Dutch . Located in a Capital City .
WHS on Other Lists
U.S. Ambassadors Fund .



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