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Oranjestad; the capital of Aruba

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As you walk the streets of Oranjestad you will see why everyone loves this unique town. It is a mixture of days gone by and the modern world. There are many building where you can see the Dutch or Spanish architecture. It is now a Dutch city and received its name from the Dutch royal house of Orange and became the capital city of Aruba in 1979. But, there have been many explorers that have contributed to the awe of Oranjestad.

To learn what has influenced Aruba into what it has become today you can visit the unique museums and worship centers. These wonderful buildings and their artifacts inside will take you throughout the centuries where you will envision on the faces of Aruba. Even the homes are unique in their structure. They are tall and multicolored with carved wooden doors and traditional Dutch tiles. So, where ever you venture to stroll in Qranjestad you will be fascinated with the architecture.

The Archaeological Museum of Aruba is located in Oranjestad. They are open Monday through Friday from 8am until 12pm and again from 1pm to 4pm. This is a small museum but is home to many of the artifacts left behind by the Indians that were once the inhabitants of this island. You can view many artifacts such as pottery vessels, shell and stone tools, burial urns, and skulls and bones.

Beside the Archaeological Museum is the Saint Franciscus Church. The church is always open and mass is performed in English and Papiamento. The structure of the ceiling and magnificent arches of this unique church are a sight to see.

During the 18th century, pirates caused havoc to the island of Aruba and stole horses or anything they wanted during these raids near the harbor. The Dutch built a fort in 1796 to protect Aruba from these attacks. Fort Zoutman is the oldest Dutch architecture sight on the island. In 1867 Willem III tower was added. Through the years this wonderful fort has been host to an aloe garden, prisoners, court officials, and tax records. In 1974, the fort was renovated and in 1983 the Tower was renovated. Beginning in 1992, the fort became the home of Caiquetio historical items and items from the Dutch colonial period. Every Tuesday you are invited to join the Bon Bini Festival. This is an arts and crafts festival where you can enjoy purchasing many items from the local residents. The lively music and dance will keep you enthralled during your visit.

Just down from Fort Zoutman is the Numismatic Museum of Aruba. This is a fascinating display of coins from over 400 countries. You will be able to visualize history through the use of 35,000 coins. This is the work of one Aruban who collected, researched and composed the details outlined for each coin. This is a very impressive collection that is well worth seeing.

The Vondellaan is Aruba's cultural center. It is located on L.G. Smith Blvd. You will notice it on your way to Oranjestad from the airport. This is a wonderful place to experience not only the culture of the Caribbean but also the dance, shows, art exhibits and lectures.

Wilhelmina Park is a nice tropical garden that sits on the waterfront. This is a quiet and peaceful place to enjoy the Caribbean breeze and take in the beauty of the park.

If shopping is what you enjoy best, then Oranjestad will be your favorite city on this vacation. You will find quaint boutiques and malls in the downtown area and in Seaport Village. On the wharf every morning you will love watching the merchants sell there fresh catch of the day off their boats. This is a perfect spot to see the ambiance of this port and the local fishing residents. You will also find several shops where you can buy crafts from local residents. A hand made craft is always perfect as a souvenir. There are many cafes to enjoy while you are out shopping. Take a break and enjoy lunch and then return to your shopping.

You may be lucky enough to visit Oranjestad during one of their many festivals and get to partake in the party that is in the street. Arubans know how to have great parties and put on quite a show when it comes to parades and carnivals.

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