Willemstad: The Best of Both Worlds
If you’re wandering in the streets of Willemstad, Curacao’s capital city you will find the city jarringly familiar (that is if you’re Dutch). The streets of Willemstad you will find pastel-colored buildings and houses overlooking the deep-water waterfront of the eastern shore of Sta. Anna Bay.
Willemstad is divided in two quarters; Punda and Otrobanda. Punda, (de punt in Dutch, meaning “the point”) which was established in 1634 by the Dutch has an unmistakably Dutch character. The urban framework and the small design that has a front street and back alley that as a rule are used for mostly for transport and disposal of goods. On this side of Willemstad, Curacao, one can find the famed Floating Market; a market with merchant boats loaded with spices, vegetables and fruits. Punda is also the commercial district of Willemstad, Curacao. Otrobanda, (“the other side”) founded in 1707 is located at other side of the Sta. Anna Bay, and is quickly becoming a commercial center; with a wide variety of hotels and restaurants. There are also lots of 18th and 19th century structures in this part of Willemstad, Curacao.
The city of Willemstad, Curacao has an array of colonial architecture that is influenced by the Dutch. The city itself has a European look that most people would consider Willemstad a city in the West Indies. Its city center has been made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its atypical architecture and stunning harbour entry. Dining-out is also famous in Willemstad. Open air dining is offered in Waterfront Arches during the evenings. Some restaurants have a terrace overlooking the ocean. Willemstad is the site of a seaport because of its location. The port of Willemstad has brought the island success in the economy. Willemstad is also a center for oil refining because of the oil refinery that was built by the Dutch Government. The oil refinery was built on a former slave market site at Asiento. The installation provided the employment of the local population. It was an ideal site for the installation because it was near the Maracaibo Basin oil fields and it was far from the social and civil unrest of South America. At Chobolobo, original Curacao Liqueur is distilled in over 100 year old barrels on a old colonial mansion.
This tropical metropolis is the called home by people from different countries. With a fascinating mix of culture (Dutch, Spanish and English); Willemstad, Curacao’s capital is truly a nice place to be in the Caribbean.
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