Oranjestad, Sint Eustatius
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Beach of Lower Town
Location on the island of Sint Eustatius
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Oranjestad (Orange Town) is a small town of approximately 1,000 inhabitants; it is the capital of the island of Sint Eustatius in the Caribbean Netherlands. Oranjestad is a historic harbour town which is divided into two main sections. Lower Town is a strip of buildings just above sea level along the waterfront, which borders on the island’s safest beach. Lower Town includes dive shops, numerous colonial-era ruins, and the harbour. Upper Town has a restored historic core, and is also the island’s main commercial and residential centre.
The main historical site in Oranjestad is Fort Oranje, a well-maintained, 17th-century fort in the direct centre of the town, overlooking the waterfront. This cliffside fort has cannons, intact fortifications and a courtyard. Nearby is a museum, the ruins of one of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere, and a Jewish cemetery.
The town's historical features also include a Dutch Reformed church built in 1755, which is partly in ruins but still accessible (its tower can be climbed for long-distance views), various restored 18th-century merchants’ residences - including the oldest one, the Gezaghebber House (former Lieutenant Governor’s residence) on Kerkstraat - and restored wooden Caribbean-style houses. The ruined buildings now submerged at the seafront can be explored by snorkelling.
Oranjestad itself contains grocery stores, restaurants, bars, a library, schools, a clinic and the administrative offices of the government. Oranjestad is a major shopping destination for people from neighbouring Saint Kitts, as many goods, especially imported foodstuffs, are cheaper.
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