NASSAU, Bahamas (defeo.biz) — The capital city, which is also the largest and the commercial center for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a popular stop for cruise ships.
For many, it may be tempting to take a relaxing day in port and lounge around the hotel or ship’s pool. The pool is great, but step out and see the city.
Nassau, a city of more than 240,000, traces its founding to the 17th century. Originally named Charles Town, the Spanish burned the city in 1684. Under Gov. Nicholas Trott, the city was rebuilt and renamed Nassau in 1695 honor of William III from the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau.
Over the years, it was popular among many of history’s most famous pirates, including Charles Vane, Anne Bonny and Edward Teach, better known as “Blackbeard.” In the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Jack Sparrow is also said to have sacked Nassau Port at some point.
With history in mind, here are five places to see on the next trip to Nassau.
Educulture Junkanoo Museum & Resource Centre
One of the most popular festivals in Nassau is Junkanoo, which takes place between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. This energetic street parade features people clad in brightly costumed dancing to the rhythmic accompaniment of cowbells, drums and whistles. Junkanoo is said to be named after John Kanoo, the founder. For a feel of what the costumes are like visit the Educulture Junkanoo Museum.
Pirates of Nassau Museum
History is full of great legends. Some are true; others are not. Pirates are one of those legendary groups of people. Given Nassau’s history with piracy, it would only stand to reason the city would be home to a great pirate museum. Pirates of Nassau is located in downtown Nassau — and within a close walk of the cruise ship terminal. The museum transports guests back to the 18th century and is quite informative about facts and fiction regarding pirates.
The British built the imposing Fort Charlotte on a hill that overlooks the harbor of Nassau. British colonial governor Lord Dunmore oversaw construction of the fort in the late 18th century after the American Revolutionary War ended. While the fort may look imposing, its function is open to some debate. It has never seen battle. However, troops remained at the fort until 1891, and it was reactivated during World War I.
Often called the 66 Steps, The Queen’s Staircase is located in the Fort Fincastle Historic Complex. Today a popular landmark, slaves built the stairs from solid limestone rock between 1793 and 1794. The steps were later named in honor of Queen Victoria. Today, only 65 of the 66 steps are visible. The 66th step is said to be buried under the asphalt.
Pirate Republic Brewing
Pirate Republic Brewing has the distinction of being the first craft brewery in The Bahamas. Stop into the brewery for a local beer and some snacks before heading back to the ship or resort. The commonwealth is perhaps best know for Kalik beer, which was named after the sound of the bells during Junkanoo.