Willemstad Walking Tour Part 1

Willemstad Walking Tour
Part 1

Most of the major sites are on the Punda side.

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Curacao's Top Sites An Easy Walk

Willemstad, Curacao, is one of the Caribbean's most interesting cities to walk. All of its top attractions can be visited in an easy half-day's walk. These are some of the top attractions.

1. Floating Market:
One of the city's most famous and colorful sights. Venezuelan produce is brought over by the boats regularly. This is the freshest produce on the island, and it's quite safe to eat. The Venezuelans, who stay for weeks at a time, live aboard their boats. The market is open from 5 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, until noon on Saturday, closed Sunday.

2.  Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue & Jewish Historical Museum: Dedicated in 1732, this is the oldest continuously operating synagogue in the Western Hemisphere . Its floor is loose sand. The museum contains many artifacts from the congregation's history, including replicas of 17th century gravestones, Hanukkah lamps and Torah scrolls. Open Monday through Friday 9-11:45 a.m. and 2:30-4:45 p.m. Also open Sundays when large cruise ships are in port.

3.  Postal Museum: Located in an elegantly restored wood and stone structure, the oldest standing building in Punda (1693). The museum contains permanent exhibits of Netherlands Antilles stamps and related materials, such as old post boxes. Open Monday through Friday 9-5, on Saturday 10-3. Admission charge.

4.  Ferry Terminal & Waterfront: This is the famous view of old merchant houses. This is also the place to catch the free ferry to Otrobanda when the Queen Emma bridge is open. Probably the most famous building here is Penha, at the corner of Breedestraat and Handelskade. It is a notable example of 18th century Dutch colonial architecture with curlicue gables and galleries that wrap around the second floor.

5.  Art Gallery 86: It may be the island's largest art gallery but it's also small. It showcases work by both local and Dutch artists. Open Monday through Friday 9:30 -12 and 3-5:30; on Saturday from 10:30 - noon .

6.  Queen Emma Bridge: Affectionately known as the "swinging old lady," the first floating pontoon bridge, Emmaburg, was built in the 1880s. The bridge allowed easy pedestrian access across the channel but it is busy these days opening to allow cruise ships and huge oil tankers to pass through. It's quite a humbling sight to be at the waterfront when one of these behemoths comes through. It is sometimes lit at night with numerous lights but always at Christmas. (See Queen Emma do her thing on my YouTube video.)

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