When I approached Georgetown, coming from Berbice in the east, I noticed a colourful wall on the right hand side of the road. It was low, did not seem to end, and was covered in advertisements for hair loss, political slogans, statements, and much more. It was only later that I realized that that was the seawall protecting Georgetown against the Atlantic Ocean. The seawall actually covers the entire northern coast of Guyana, but its most famous part is the stretch around Georgetown. Much of the land here is below sea level; some parts of this area were actually washed away by erosion in the early 19th century.
The seawall is a concrete structure, closely following the coastline. It is a low wall: when you stand in front of it, you can easily see the ocean behind it. It has not always been able to protect Georgetown against high tides: even after completion of the seawall in the 19th century, the city has known several severe floods. On the other hand, when there is excessive rainfall, the water has to be directed to the ocean. For this reason, the seawall has so-called kokers, which control in- and outflow of water through the seawall. Currently, it is being debated whether the capital should be moved more inland as a safer place for its inhabitants. It would mean reversing the decision of the French in 1782 to move the capital from a location upstream the Demerara river.
More than just a defensive construction against the ocean, the Georgetown seawall has acquired many more functions. Not only used as an obvious place for advertisement, it also attracts crowds on Sunday who come here to relax, picnic, play music and dance, runners use the wall for their training, cyclists ride the top, people come to pray or just go for a stroll. Which is exactly what I did one morning; I walked the seawall, mostly straight, but sometimes curved, just as the terrain dictates. While walking on top of the wall, you can clearly see how the land behind it is lower than the sea - a strange sensation. At one point, the wall got narrower and I continued walking next to it. It gave me a better position to study the writings on the wall before returning to the city.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Georgetown seawall (Guyana). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Georgetown seawall. Read more about this site.