This shows the Parliament Buildings, built between 1870 and 1874.
Bridgetown is one of four adjoining cities as you go up the west coast. Starting from the south is Oistins, famous for its Friday night fish fry. We drove through there at night and saw the revelries, but had no chance to take photos. The next town, the main business and shopping district, is Bridgetown. It's named for its bridges that cross this waterway (above). The next town north is Holetown, named for the hole, a small channel where ships can anchor. Further up is Speightstown, named for the man who once owned the land, William Speight. Holetown and Speightstown are the domain of the rich and famous. Speightstown is pronounced "spite-s-town."
Bridgetown Independence Square.
From a marker: "Boabab Tree - Adansonia Digitata - This tree is the largest and oldest tree in Barbados, standing 90 ft (28 m) tall with a girth of 81 ft (25 m). It is estimated to be over one thousand years old. It is not a native species of Barbados, but originated from Ginea, West Africa where it is thought that the seed floated across the Atlantic and grew on the edge of a lagoon. This area is now the existing park and playing field. Another large Boabab tree with a girth of 44.5 ft (13.6m) is located at Warrens, St. Michael." Wikipedia
The Nidḥe Israel Synagogue dates back 1654, but in 1831 the building was damaged, and rebuilt after a hurricane. Then it fell into disrepair in the early twentieth century. However, it is now completely restored. They lit the building up with purple flood lights for our event.
We had dinner on a beautiful outdoor patio, including live music.
Interior of the Synagogue.
This is a mikveh or mikvah, a sacred bath to achieve purity. It dates back to the seventeenth century and fills itself with pure water from a spring. Nidḥe Israel Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues in the Western hemisphere and the excavated mikveh dates back to the seventeenth century. The synagogue is a Barbados National Trust property, and UNESCO designated the synagogue and mikveh as protected properties in 2011. Wikipedia
Singer songwriter, actress, businesswoman, and diplomat Robyn Rihanna Fenty grew up in this house in Bridgetown. She renovated it and also bought herself a pricey penthouse in Holetown. Rihanna's a superstar, and an inspiration to her family, friends, and fans in Barbados. Wikipedia - Rihanna
Rihanna's childhood home is a good example of a restored chattel house. The small wooden houses were common during the plantation era, and the owner could pack them up and move them, hence the name chattel, or movable property. If someone needed to move, all the neighbors would pitch in to help, and the house could be disassembled, moved, and reassembled in a day. People don't move them anymore, but a lot of gratitude goes to anyone who buys one and restores it. Wikipedia - chattel house
This is Britton Rum Shop, one of an estimated eight thousand rum shops in Barbados. They're often next door to a church, and there's many theories why that is. It could be the women go to church and the men pass the time at the rum shop. Or, people simply want a drink after church. But the real reason, my guides told me, is so people can have a choice of spirits.
The most brutal history of Barbados is the slave trade (1661-1833). By the harbor in Bridgetown are remnants of the slave warehouses, where human beings were housed. This is a slave house (above), typical in the sugar cane business. It's the last example of a slave house left on the island. History does not save itself, and I sincerely hope someone has plans to save this vital piece of history.
Just off the beach in Holetown is the oldest church in Barbados, St. James Anglican Parish Church, built in 1628. Wikipedia
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