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Surinam: Paramaribo Architecture

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Paramaribo Architecture | Surinam | Americas

[Visited: July 2007]

While Paramaribo is not a big city, it offers some very interesting architecture which can easily be appreciated on a walk through the historic downtown area. Here, you can see some stately brick buildings, which have a classical appearance, also because some of them have a facade with high white columns. Some of these buildings could almost have been taken directly from the former mother country, the Netherlands, and planted here in the tropical northern part of South America.

Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): High Court: stately colonial building on Independence Square

Naturally, when the Dutch established themselves here in the late 17th century, they also took their ways of construction with them. Gradually, their style was blended with local techniques, using local building materials, resulting in a fusion of recognizable Dutch and indigenous architecture. The results are still visible in a rather small area in downtown Paramaribo: traditional houses being chiefly made of wood, fires have destroyed some parts, while modernization of the city has taken care of others. The city centre now is protected as it has become a Unesco World Heritage site.

Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Mostly wooden structure typical for Paramaribo

The most striking feature of the traditional style of building is a square brick foundation, on which you can find the structure with wooden walls, a high gabled roof. Houses have many windows, with wooden shutters. Most buildings nowadays are run down, one the one hand giving them a charming appearance, but hopefully they will be maintained for the future by better maintenance. Apart from the wooden buildings, you can also come across modern architecture in concrete with original and entirely different shapes compared to the traditional ways of building.

Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Small wooden house in Paramaribo
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Colonial architecture: Staatsraad building near Fort Zeelandia
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Presidential Palace on Independence Square
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Wooden building in Paramaribo
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Different from other buildings in the city, this one is still made from wood
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Traditional wooden houses in a street in Paramaribo
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Ministery of Justice and Police in traditional wooden building
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Modern architecture: the Surinam Bank in Paramaribo
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Modern building in Paramaribo
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Detail of apartment block in downtown Paramaribo
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): School building in Paramaribo
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Dutch-Israelite synagogue next to the mosque in downtown Paramaribo
Picture of Paramaribo Architecture (Surinam): Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam mosque in Paramaribo

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