Thursday, October 27, 2011

Handelskade, Willemstad, Curaçao


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Despite being nearly four hundred years old (Willemstad was founded in 1634), the city is remarkably well preserved and boasts some of the best Dutch colonial architecture in the world. The Handelskade, which follows the narrow patch of land on the Punda side of St. Anna Bay, was once the main commercial street in Willemstad, as merchant vessels could effectively come right up to the store fronts. However, the Penha department store (the yellow building at the far right, which dates from 1708) is still located along the Handelskade.

The historic area of Willemstad, including Punda and Otrabanda, was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, as it "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."

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