Guianas

Paramaribo

The capital and chief port, lies on the Suriname River, 12 km from the sea. There are many attractive colonial buildings. The Governor's Mansion (now the Presidential Palace) is on Onafhankelijkheidsplein (also called Eenheidsplein and, originally, Oranjeplein). Many beautiful 18th- and 19th-century buildings in Dutch (neo-Normanic) style are in the same area. A few have been restored, notably along the waterfront.

Getting there

The airport is 47 km south. There is no central bus station.

Getting around

There are very few regular
buses
; the few services that are left leave from Heiligenweg. There are privately run 'wild buses', also known as 'numbered buses' which run on fixed routes around the city; they are minivans and are severely overcrowded.
Taxis
generally have no meters. The price should be agreed on beforehand to avoid trouble. If hiring a taxi for touring, beware of overcharging. If you're a hotel guest, let the hotel make arrangements.

Tourist information

Suriname Tourist Foundation
, www.suriname-tourism.org.

Sights

Fort Zeelandia houses the Suriname Museum, restored to this purpose after being repossessed by the military. The whole complex has been opened to the public again and its historic buildings can be visited. The fort itself now belongs to the Stichting (foundation) Surinaams Museum, www.surinaamsmuseum.net, and is generally in good condition. The old wooden officers' houses in the same complex have been restored with Dutch finance. Very few exhibits remain in the old museum in the residential suburb of Zorg en Hoop, Commewijnestraat. Look for Mr F H R Lim A Postraat if you wish to see what Paramaribo looked like only a comparatively short time ago. The 19th century Roman Catholic St Peter and Paul Cathedral (1885), built entirely of wood, is one of the largest wooden buildings in the Americas. This twin towered, neo-Gothic building with a rose window is both impressive and beautiful, but is currently being restored with funds from the European Union. Much of the old town, dating from the 19th century, and the churches have been restored. Other things to see are the colourful market and the waterfront, Hindu temples in Koningstraat and Wanicastraat (finally completed after years of construction), one of the Caribbean's largest mosques at Keizerstraat (take a magnificent photo at sunset). There are two synagogues : one next to the mosque at Keizerstraat 88, the other (1854) on the corner of Klipstenstraat and Heerenstraat (closed, now houses an internet café and IT business unit). The Numismatich Museum, www.cbvs.sr, displaying the history of Suriname's money, is operated by the Central Bank. A new harbour has been constructed about 1½ km upstream. Two pleasant parks are the Palmentuin, with a stage for concerts, and the Cultuurtuin, the latter is a 20-minute walk from the centre. National dress is normally only worn by the Asians on national holidays and at wedding parties, but some Javanese women still go about in sarong and klambi. A university (Anton de Kom Universiteit van Suriname) was opened in 1968. There is one public pool at Weidestraat. There is an exotic Asian-flavour market area. There is a Sunday morning flea market on Tourtonnelaan.

An interesting custom throughout Suriname are birdsong competitions, held in parks and plazas on Sunday and holidays. People carrying their songbird (usually a small black tua-tua) in a cage are frequently seen; on their way to and from work or just taking their pet for a stroll.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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