It’s amazing how many historic hotspots you’ll find in Downtown Nassau. This district in the north of Nassau is not that big. All attractions can be reached on foot. Are you a lover of history and culture? Then don’t miss the following iconic places in Downtown Nassau.
Parliament Square is directly opposite the cruise terminal. The flamingo-pink buildings on this square are prime examples of colonial architecture in Downtown Nassau.
Parliamentary meetings are held in the building on the right. The people’s representatives meet in the middle building. The opposition is in the building on the left. Behind this square is the Judiciary of the Bahamas. The judges and lawyers there are dressed in traditional British robes and wigs.
Queen Victoria’s statue is positioned in the middle of the square. She ruled the United Kingdom, of which the Bahamas were a colony, from 1837 to 1901.
The Nassau Public Library
If you walk a few minutes in a southerly direction on Nassau, past the court, you will encounter the island’s public library. Did we hear a yawn? Then remember that, until 1873, this building was not filled with books, but with prisoners. It is also one of the oldest buildings in the Bahamas.
In today’s library, you will (of course) able to find books, old magazines, as well as historical documents, with interesting information on the history of the Bahamas. The old dungeons have been preserved and are almost always open to the public.
Fort Fincastle & The Water Tower
Walk a little further south and you’ll find Fort Fincastle, and a water tower, directly next to it. It was mainly used as a lookout post for spotting looting pirates. Later, The Water Tower was used as a lighthouse. Nowadays it’s a lookout point for tourists. After climbing 220 steps, you’ll have a beautiful view over the whole of Nassau.
Next to the fortress, you’ll find the famous Queen’s Staircase: a 30-meter high staircase carved entirely out of solid limestone. In case of an attack on the city, soldiers were able to quickly reach the fort. Remaining stone was used to build the fort.
Does the stair design disappoint you? Think of the more than 600 slaves who cut each step out of solid stone, by hand. A process that took 16 years. Ouch!
If you walk west for around ten minutes, (past the post office and under a viaduct), you’ll arrive at Government House. In front of it stands an imposing statue of Christopher Columbus. He first stopped off in the Bahamas on his journey to the “New World”.
The beautiful pink-and-white building is the official residence of the Governor-General. Every second Saturday of the month (around 11:00 a.m.), the police band plays local classics at the building. Will you happen to be here on the last Friday of the month? If so, join the locals for a cup of tea from 3 o’clock in the afternoon, for a public tea party.