Bearing a strong stamp of easy-going yet vibrant, the capital city of Guyana is where almost one third of the country lives or works. As a result, it is brimming with diversity and fun to explore for a traveller. Skirted by the Atlantic Ocean on the northern edge, the city is cooled by the trade winds and is pleasant enough to wander all year around. This makes trawling the city’s monuments, relics, parks, museums and churches fun. Spend at least two-three days to get your bearings, so you can understand the background of the country through its museums, visit relaxing cafes and meet ample locals to feel like an insider. Here are some of the top attractions to explore.
Lighthouse and Seawall
The red and white lighthouse that was once the tallest building in the city now stands on the 2nd spot. It is ideal to get on top (after permission) to get a bird’s eye view of the sprawl of the city as well as the blue ocean at its edge. Also, spot the long stretch of the Sea Wall, a 280-mile dyke constructed by the Dutch to stop the Atlantic from ravaging the city.
A moving ode to a slave, Cuffy, who valiantly fought for the liberation of workers in the sugarcane factories, the monument is a reminder of Guyana’s bleak decades. Ringed by a fountain, the statue of Cuffy stands tall, reminding people of the great rebellion that took place against the colonial rule.
Built on the occasion of the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Conference in Georgetown in August 1972, the benab styled tall hut is a peek into the Amerindian lifestyle for the traveller. The structure is almost 17 meters tall and highlights the intricate creation of a large and sturdy thatch roof held by minimal rafters. It is now used as a meeting place.
Botanical Garden and Around
The green patchwork of Botanical, Zoological and National Parks of the town offer a much-needed freshness to the city. The zoo in Georgetown offers a tryst with a jaguar, boa constrictor, a sloth and even a harpy eagle – a precursor to the wild inhabitants that you might view in the rest of the country. Botanical Gardens boast of 50 species of birds that roam free and ample picnicking space. But topping the list of amazing creatures are the manatees that live below the Kissing Bridge on a lake.
Visit the Walter Roth Museum to see detailed exhibits that showcase the life of Amerindians or sample Guyana’s biodiversity at the National Museum. Apart from these two, visit the Museum of African Heritage for a slice of African heritage. Georgetown’s museums are the perfect to see the past and present juxtaposed in extensive exhibits. For a touch of urban culture, see the Roy Geddes Steel Pan Museum, where photographs, drums and souvenirs that document the musician’s life can be seen. At the National Gallery, you will be walking inside the once home of political leader Forbes Burnham.
St. George’s Cathedral
One of the most famous landmarks of the city, the 18th century established, St. George’s Cathedral shadows the modern buildings in the heart of the city. The high wooden ceiling supported by arches, a dazzling chandelier, gifted by the Queen of England and the stained-glass paintings of the cathedral are the highlights. It is said that this fourth version of the wooden cathedral was the work of British Architect, Sir. Arthur Bloomfield, who ironically did not even visit once. This is one of the tallest wooden structures in the Caribbean.
Prepare to be dazzled by rows of shops selling anything from veggies, fruits, clothing, toys, books, gizmos and more. For a local flavour, walk into the Stabroek Market that is headlined by a tall clock. Inside the maze of narrow lanes inside is where the true local thrum exists – think soca music carts, fresh fish sellers, boats loading and loading on the back of the market on the Demerara River. The same energy can be experienced at the Bourda market of the city.
Immerse yourself in Guyana’s unique vibe, with a quick orientation at Georgetown with the help of the main attractions. The traveller will be able to ease into the country, having gotten a glimpse of the old and new slices of the country