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A small island in the Caribbean Sea, Curaçao to date boasts
more than 860 protected monuments and historical and
More than 80 country estates dating from the 17th to the
19th century, quite often in a superb natural setting, dot
the island. An average of one country estate in every six
square kilometres of the island, this is a unique feature
both for the Caribbean Region and beyond.
Together with the many colourful traditional rural houses
dispersed over the island, these plantation complexes
locally called landhuizen, put a distinctive mark on the
cultural landscape of Curaçao.
Curaçao also boasts World Heritage, the Inner City and
Harbour of Willemstad World Heritage City. The city’s Dutch
colonial origin and heritage is reflected in the colourful
historic buildings and in the town lay-out of the inner
city’s four historic districts known as Punda (17th
century), Otrobanda (18th century), Pietermaai and Scharloo
(both 19th century). Each with an expression of its own, the
distinct historic townscapes of Historic Willemstad’s
districts turn the city itself into a colourful and lively
reference book of its architectural and urban history both
for the city stroller and the visitor.
Historic Willemstad accommodates 765 listed monuments,
mostly historic mansions, shop houses and townhouses, but
also an array of typical small popular dwellings.
Major monuments in Historic Willemstad are Fort Amsterdam,
seat of the government of the Netherlands Antilles, Water
Fort and Rif Fort facing the Caribbean Sea and the Synagogue
Mikvé Israël Emanuel, oldest synagogue in use in the western
Curaçao’s fortifications include several types of
strongholds ranging from Historic Willemstad’s city
fortifications to individual forts on strategic locations on
Curaçao’s southern shore.
Curaçao’s archaeological sites identified and protected to
date, feature remnants of seven human settlements dating
back to the Archaic age (from 2,500 B.C.) and the Ceramic
age (from 500 A.D.) Apart from human graves and deposits
containing pottery and tools made of shells, stone and
bones, rock paintings form a rare and interesting legacy of
Curaçao’s first inhabitants.