Paramaribo is a former Dutch colonial town from the 17th and 18th centuries planted on the northern coast of tropical South America. The original street plan of the historic center remains intact. Its buildings illustrate the gradual fusion of Dutch architectural influence with traditional local techniques and materials.
Paramaribo is a former Dutch colonial town dating from the 17th and 18th centuries planted on the northeastern coast of Suriname in tropical South America. The original and highly characteristic street plan of the historic center remains intact.
Composed of mainly wooden buildings, the plain and symmetrical architectural style illustrating the gradual fusion of Dutch and other European architectural and later North American influences as well as elements from Creole culture, reflects the multi-cultural society of Suriname.
The historic inner city is located along the left bank of the Suriname River and is defined by the Sommelsdijkse Kreek to the north and the Viottekreek to the south. Laid out from 1683 on a grid pattern along an axis running north-west from Fort Zeelandia, the main streets follow shell ridges which provided a naturally drained base for building. At the end of the 18th century, Dutch engineering and town planning skills enabled the town to be extended over marshy land to the north.
Important elements in the townscape are:
- Fort Zeelandia built in 1667 and the large public park (Garden of Palms) behind it
- wide, tree-lined streets and open spaces
- Presidential Palace (1730) built in stone but with a wooden upper floor
- Ministry of Finance (1841) a monumental brick structure with classical portico and clock tower
- Reformed Church (1837) in Neoclassical style
- Gothic Revival Roman Catholic Cathedral (1885) built in wood