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In case you didn’t know then you know it now, but Paramaribo is the capital from Suriname. There is much to explore in this capital. Paramaribo is a city without big museums, buildings or sights but there is a good atmosphere which makes the capital worth a visit. You can discover Paramaribo by yourself and wander around.
Most of Paramaribo’s must visits are in the historic center of the city. This means that most of the buildings are within walking distance of each other. This ensures that you do not need a bicycle or car in the center when you go on a trip. Below there will be explained what you should visit in the city center of Paramaribo and outside the city center. The last topic is where you can go out or go for a drink.
The city center of Paramaribo
The places you should visit in the city center are the following:
Independence Square is the central square of the city. The most important buildings of the city are located here. You will find the Ministry of Justice and Police, Ministry of Internal Affairs, congress hall, the presidential palace, and the congress hall. You will also see two statues on the square of two important Surinamese politicians: Johan Adolf Penger and Jagernath Lachmon.
The presidential palace was formerly occupied by the Dutch governor of Suriname, now the palace is mainly used for all kinds of official occasions. The palace is renovated but the original building dates back to 1730. Every Sunday morning there is a songbird contest in the historic center. Songbirds are a national sport in Suriname.
Walk around the old center and look at the wooden buildings. A lot of the historic buildings are not there anymore because of the big fire in 1821 but you will still see some original ones.
The palm garden is a beautiful place to relax, and it’s located behind the presidential palace. The garden was laid out in 1685. You will find lots of different palm trees and if you look closely, you can see a monkey here and there roaming in the trees.
You must visit Fort Zeelandia because it is a very famous military defense work from the 17th century. Now the fort is used as a museum where there are extensive talks about Surinamese history and people. The wooden buildings next to the fort are the former officers’ houses. A lot has happened in this fort like the December murders and much more.
Waterkant is best known for its many dining options where you can really get the Surinamese feeling. The street runs parallel to the Suriname River and dates back to colonial times. The street used to be filled with large colonial homes, these were lost with the big fire of 1821. There are still old wooden buildings which gives a very nice view. You can also get a good view of the Suriname River from the street.
The Maagdenstraat and Domineestraat are the two biggest street in this capital and those are both famous shopping streets.
Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral is a cathedral made entirely of wood, which gives it a special appearance. However, because it is made of wood the cathedral regularly needs renovations. The 44-meter-high towers were later added to the cathedral around 1901. There is also a Mosque and Synagogue that are placed next to each other in the city center of Paramaribo which you should visit. Outside the city center you also have a beautiful Hindu temple called Arya Dewaker Mandir.
Besides visiting the city center of Paramaribo there are many markets in Paramaribo. Every day of the week, except on Sunday, there is a central market near the Waterkant at Jodenbreestraat. There are also two market halls which you can find in Paramaribo and there are many other markets like Kwatta market on Kwattweg, a Javanese market on the Tourtonnelaan, etc.
Outside the city center
There are some other places you should visit outside the city center of Paramaribo.
Blauwgrond (English: Blue Ground) is a Javanese neighborhood just outside the center. Here you can go and eat good Javanese food.
Fort Nieuw-Amsterdam is a historic fort that you must visit. To get there you can take the boat a bit outside the city center of Paramaribo to Niew Amsterdam. The fort was built from 1734 to 1747 with a view over the Commewijne river and Suriname river, now it’s a museum that you can visit to learn about the history.
Rumhuis is a house where you can learn all about the rum of Suriname and of course taste it.
Partying in Paramaribo
In Suriname going out is totally different than in Belgium or other countries. There are four big, well-known places to go dancing in Paramaribo. Of course, besides those four there are many more places to go partying. Before midnight, you will not see many people because people go out after midnight. The four big dancing’s are open on different days:
- Wednesday: Touché
- Thursday: Havana until 4am
- Friday: ’T Vat and Touché
- Saturday: Zsa Zsa Zsu
Some nice places just to go for a drink are the following: ‘T Vat, de Zus en Zo, de Margherita’s, Zanzibar, etc.
Paramaribo is an amazing city and the best thing you can do is walk around and discover. There are many nice bars and restaurants. If you want to know more about Suriname, read the blog What to know about Suriname. To know what you can visit in this incredible country, read the blog Must visit in Suriname.