Bridgetown is the Capital of Barbados and our islands’ centre of commerce, boasting a population of about 80,000 people. Bridgetown was once a bushy hub of inter-island trade and a key stop in the slave trade, and as a result of this rich history, Bridgetown is now home to some of the most beautiful, historic buildings on the island.
The Parliament Buildings, located at one end of Broad Street are beautiful buildings made of our local coral stone. Barbados parliament is one of the oldest in the whole Commonwealth. Across from the Parliament Buildings is “Trafalgar Square” featuring a statue of Lord Nelson. This square and statue are older than their counterparts of the same name in London, England: Our statue was erected in 1813. In April 1999 Trafalgar Square was officially re-named National Heroes Square in honour of our local National heroes. Located about 200 yards off of Broad Street is the old Jewish Synagogue which was established soon after the British first settle here in 1627. The Exodus of Jews form Recife, Brazil signaled the beginning of the Jewish community in Barbados. This synagogue, which now houses a very interesting, became a place of public worship for Jews in Barbados in 1654, three years before a public place of worship was established for Jews in London.
The Chamberlain Bridge, over the Careenage was replaced in 2005 with a modern lift bridge but prior to this modernization it was a swing bridge which was operated by two people. The original bridge was constructed in 1872 and allowed entry to trade ships to the inner basin of the careenage. Today, the Careenage is mostly used for pleasure boats rather than vehicles of trade.
As you can probably guess, Bridgetown was named for this bridge. The capital was originally called “Indian Bridge” after the rudimentary bridge built over the river by the native Indians. Subsequently it was called the town of St. Michael, for the parish in which it is located, before finally being re-named Bridgetown.
Bridgetown has many old, unnamed buildings that have in the past few years, under gone extensive refurbishment. We Bajans are very proud of our gleaming capital and what it represents of our illustrious past. We hope that if you ever decide to explore our island, you will take the time to marvel at the historic buildings and that you, also will develop a fondness of our capital city.