Bridgetown is the capital and largest city of the nation of Barbados.
The Grantley Adams International Airport for Barbados, is located 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) southeast of Bridgetown city centre, and has daily flights to major cities in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
The present day location of the city was established by English settlers in 1628 following a prior settlement under the authority of Sir William Courten at St. James Town. Bridgetown is a major West Indies tourist destination, and the city acts as an important financial, informatics, convention centre, and cruise ship port of call in the Caribbean region.
Bridgetown is the only city on Barbados and well over half the island's residents live there. Bridgetown is the port of call for many cruise ships and is known for its duty-free shopping as much as for its more cultural and historical attractions.
2011, Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison were added as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
|POPULATION :||City: 110,000|
|TIME ZONE :||Eastern Caribbean Time Zone (UTC-4)|
|LANGUAGE :||English (official)|
|RELIGION :||Protestant 63.4% (Anglican 28.3%, Pentecostal 18.7%, Methodist 5.1%, other 11.3%), Roman Catholic 4.2%, other Christian 7%, none or unspecified 25.4%|
|AREA :||15 sq mi (40 km2)|
|ELEVATION :||3 ft (1 m)|
|COORDINATES :||13°06′21″N 59°36′47″W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.8% |
• Female: 51.2%
|ETHNIC :||black 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+1 246|
THINGS TO SEE:
Barbados Museum, St. Ann's Garrison, St. Michael (On the western edge of the race course), Housed in the former British Military Prison, the Barbados Museum is an excellent place to go to catch up on the history of the island though you'll have the place to yourself. The exhibits start from the time the coral island first appeared; briefly cover the history of the indigenous people of Barbados; the arrival of Europeans and African slaves and the culture of the island during the colonial period; the emancipation of slaves; independence from the British; and more recent history. There is an interactive children's section that the young ones will enjoy. A small concession serves cold drinks.
St. Mary's Church, Bridgetown, Barbados. The current Georgian building was constructed in 1827 but there has been a church here since 1630.
Careenage. Once a port for ships, the Careenage now houses restaurants, bars, and boutiques set in what used to be warehouses and stores for ship supplies. Well protected from the open sea, walk along the Careenage with period buildings on one side and fishing and pleasure boats on the other, stop off for a rum at the Waterfront Cafe, and (with a bit of imagination!) you can almost step 150 years back in time!
Parliament, Broad Street, Barbados (Near Trafalgar Square). The neo-Gothic parliament buildings are open to the public when parliament is in session.
Parliament Building in Bridgetown
St. Mary's Church
THINGS TO DO:
Mount Gay Rum Distillery Tour, Spring Garden Highway, Brandons, St. Michael Parish, Sugarcane, the primary agricultural crop of Barbados, is "rum in the first phase," and you can see how sugarcane is made into the final product at the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. Three tours types are offered: Standard tour (US $8, B$16) approximately 45 minutes long, starting every hour, kids free; Cocktail tour (US $40, B$80) approximately 2 hours long, starting at 14:00 Wednesday, includes a cocktail-making contest at the end of the tour, where the tour participants make their own cocktails with Mount Gay Rum and other ingredients, and compete for the best cocktail; Lunch tour (US $60, B$120) approximately 2 hours, by reservation only. Includes an outdoor Bajan lunch, along with the omnipresent rum punch. Note that the distillery's flash website is so overwrought and confusing as to be not worth your while—give them a call directly to set something up. US $8-60.
The Dive Shop (Scuba Dive), Ameys Alley, Upper Bay St, St. Michael, A one tank dive is US $60 and a 2-tank dive is US $100. Resort class and dive is US $85. Multi-dive packages also exist, such as a 3-dive (1-day) package. Snorkeling is also offered for US $25 US $60-100.
Watch Cricket. Kensington Oval is like the Lord's of the West Indies. If you're lucky enough, try to catch a one day international or a test match at the oval and you'll get a sense for the fun and excitement that goes with West Indies cricket.
A day at the races. Barbados has an active horse racing calendar centered around the Barbados Derby Day and the Barbados Gold Cup Day. Rub shoulders with the cream of Barbados society as well as with the serious punters at the race course in Garrison.
Although the island was totally abandoned or uninhabited when the British landed there, one of the few traces of indigenous pre-existence on the island was a primitive bridge constructed over the Careenage area's swamp at the centre of Bridgetown. It was thought that this bridge was created by a people indigenous to the Caribbean known as the Arawak. Upon finding the structure, the British settlers began to call what is now the Bridgetown area Indian Bridge. Scholars widely believe that the Arawak were driven from Barbados to the neighbouring island of Saint Lucia, during an invasion by the Kalinagos, another indigenous people of the region. Eventually after 1654 when a new bridge was constructed over the Careenage by the British, the area became known as The Town of Saint Michael and later as Bridgetown.
Bridgetown is the only city outside the present United States that George Washington visited. (George Washington House, the house where he stayed, is included within the boundaries of the Garrison Historic Area.) Two of Washington's ancestors, Jonathon and Gerrard Hawtaine, were early planters on the island. Their grandmother was Mary Washington of Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, England. In 2011, historic buildings in Bridgetown were designated as a protected area by UNESCO.
English settlement of Bridgetown began on 5 July 1628 under Charles Wolverstone, who brought with him 64 settlers to these lands formally claimed by James Hay, the Earl of Carlisle. Wolverstone, had been dispatched by a group of London Merchants, headed by Sir Marmaduke Rawdon.
The earliest boundaries of Bridgetown are contained by way of an Act passed on 4 April 1660 called, "to prevent the danger which may happen by fire, in or about any of the seaport towns of the Island". The southern limit was declared to be the River (Careenage), whilst the western limit was declared to be the western boundary of St. Michael's (now St. Mary's) Churchyard, and extending in a direct line to the seaside.
In 1824, Barbados became the seat of the Anglican 'Diocese of Barbados and the Leeward Islands'. Due to this the Saint Michael's Parish Church became raised to the status of Cathedral, in so doing the elevation meant that thereafter Bridgetown would be conferred with city status. In 1842, Royal Letters Patent under which Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, Saint Vincent, and Saint Lucia were split into separate diocese decreed that henceforth the Town of Bridgetown should be called the City of Bridgetown.
From 1800 until 1885, Bridgetown served as the main seat of Government for the former British colonies of the Windward Islands. During this period, the resident Governor of Barbados also served as the Colonial head of the Windward Islands. After the Government of Barbados officially exited from the Windward Island union in 1885, the seat was moved from Bridgetown to St. George's on the neighbouring island of Grenada.
In December 1925, a committee sought to petition the King for a Royal Charter of Incorporation to devise local government in the city. The plan stated the desire for Bridgetown to be run by a mayor, 8 aldermen, 12 common councillors, a town clerk, a head-borough or chief constable, and such other officers as would be deemed necessary. It was proposed that the island's House of Assembly should seek to Incorporate the city instead of utilising Royal Charter.
It was not until 1958 when the Local Government Act was passed in Barbados. Within the act, called for separate administration for the city. The act called for a mayor, 6 city aldermen, and 12 city councillors — of which four serve each of the three wards in the city.
On 20 September 1960, a grant of arms was conferred upon the city by the Royal College of Arms in London. The armorial bearings for the City of Bridgetown were designed by the late Neville Connell, the then director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society along with H.W. Ince the Honorary Secretary of the Society.
Local government in Barbados was established but not for long. In April 1967, the system of Local Government Councils was dissolved and replaced by an Interim Commissioner for Local Government. The Corporation of Bridgetown thus ceased to exist, and its records and paraphernalia were deposited in both the Government Department of Archives and Barbados Museum and Historical Society. Today, Bridgetown and surrounding constituencies are administered by members of Barbadian parliament.
Bridgetown features a tropical wet and dry climate, with relatively constant temperatures throughout the course of the year.
While fairly hot, Bridgetown is cooled somewhat by the trade winds that affect weather in Barbados in general. Bridgetown’s record high of 35 °C (95.0 °F) and record low of 16 °C (60.8 °F).
Bridgetown features distinct wet and dry seasons, with a relatively lengthy wet season and a shorter dry season. Its wet season is from June through January, while the dry season covers the remaining months.
Climate data for Bridgetown
|Record high °C (°F)||31|
|Average high °C (°F)||28.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||25.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||22.9|
|Record low °C (°F)||16|
|Source #1: Barbados Meteorological Services|
|Source #2: BBC Weather (record highs and lows)|
The city of Bridgetown, and the wider Greater Bridgetown area occupy most of the parish of Saint Michael, an area which covers around 39 km² (15 sq. mi). Bridgetown's centre was originally composed of a swamp, which was quickly drained and filled-in to make way for the city's early development.
At the heart of Bridgetown is the Careenage and Constitution River. This body of water provides the city with direct access from medium-sized yachts or small craft boats. Although moderately shallow, the Careenage slices Bridgetown into two parts. During the rainy season the Constitution River flows into the Careenage area and acts as an outflow for water from the islands interior storm drainage network. Flowing into the Carlisle Bay on the southwest coast of the island, the Careenage can be observed as a marina for boaters entering or exiting the inner basin located directly in front of the Parliament buildings of Barbados.
Barbados' main exports are sugar, rum, and molasses. The island is also involved in other industries namely tourism and the offshore sector.
The airline REDjet has its head office at Grantley Adams International Airport in Christ Church, near Bridgetown.
The city of Bridgetown also has a well regulated stock exchange with securities of Barbadian and regional Caribbean companies.
Banks are open 8 am–3pm, Hours: Monday to Thursday, and 8 am–5pm on Fridays.
The main banks are:
- Barclays Bank (see FirstCaribbean International Bank),
- Bank of Nova Scotia,
- Barbados National Bank,
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) (see FirstCaribbean International Bank),
- RBTT Bank and
- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
- Automatic Teller Machines are available.
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