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A Tremendous Achievement for Barbados: Bridgetown Now A World Heritage Site

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | By Kim Howard
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Barbados now has the international distinction of being included on the United Nations-managed World Heritage List. News of this came this past weekend from Paris, France when the World Heritage Committee determined that “Bridgetown and its Garrison deserved a place on the List.” The list includes over 900 cultural or natural sites all over the world, which are deemed to be of outstanding universal value.

The UN News Centre reported that the World Heritage Committee, “… found the Bridgetown site – comprised of a well-preserved old town and a nearby military garrison – to be an outstanding example of British colonial architecture.”

“With its serpentine urban layout, the property testifies to a different approach to colonial town planning compared to the Spanish and Dutch colonial cities of the region, which were built along a grid plan,” UNESCO said in a press statement.

This is something that many of us undoubtedly take for granted. Having grown up in Barbados and knowing primarily this type of city layout we are not likely to view it as indicative of any particular colonial connection. However, it is, especially when compared to the towns of our Dutch and Spanish speaking Caribbean neighbours.

Late last year, we discussed the nomination for World Heritage inclusion in our blog so it is good to see that the first such bid by our country has been successful. At the time we noted that this would be of great benefit to our tourism product.

But what else does it mean for Barbados? We asked Professor Henry Fraser who referenced this campaign in his article for The Red Book 2010 what he thought. In addition to the benefits to tourism, Professor Fraser believes the new designation to be significant both from the perspective of non-Barbadians as well as for us as a people. He commented that the Inscription of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison is a tremendous achievement for Barbados because:

•    It acknowledges the great importance of Bridgetown's role in the Caribbean (and the European theatre of war and the Caribbean diaspora) for nearly 400 years, and the uniqueness of our Garrison.
•    It will also help us as a nation to recognise the role we have played in the world, and the significance our history has for others as well as ourselves.
•    It means that we have an obligation to preserve our history and our sites FOR THE WORLD as well as ourselves.  This is a serious responsibility, and will demand effort beyond the promotion of our sun, sand, sea and festivals.

This responsibility is one we take to heart in the Barbados real estate industry. Here at Terra Caribbean, we are often privileged to offer traditional Barbadian homes for sale  that have been conscientiously refurbished and maintained by their owners.

What do you think of this news? Tell us what you think of our new designation as a World Heritage Site. Share your comments.

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