Route Constructed

Scharloo

This route takes you along Scharloo Road past numerous 19th-century mansions, which used to be a thriving Jewish neighborhood. This route takes you exclusively past architectural landmarks and offers no side trips to other attractions (with the exception of the public library). The architectural variations with their intricate details make the mansions remarkably beautiful. You will also encounter some examples of contemporary architecture that reflect traditional elements.



As you walk past the buildings, compare not only the basic architectural style of the buildings, but also the details, such as: windows, gables, entrances, roofs, staircases and courtyards. All of these features are much more varied than in other places on the island. Also, compare the color of the roof tiles. It is these striking differences in details that make the architecture on Scharloo so unique. Many houses have an oval medallion above the door, each with its own unique pattern. Some have fan-shaped, painted windows or ornate cement curls along the eaves. There are flat and there are pitched roofs. Also note the entrances: some are quite detailed and give the lot a certain charm; in other houses, the door is again at street level. There are also houses with a vestibule, decorated with columns. Should you really fall in love with this neighborhood, there is an excellent but pricey book with color photographs available entitled Scharloo.

Until the late 1980s, Scharloo was in ruins. Many mansions are still abandoned, although the area is now becoming a promising business area. The recent decision by the Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles to build its new offices here has had a very positive impact on the area; more buildings are being renovated every year.


Allow about an hour for the entire walk and possibly a bit more, if you often stop at a building to get a good look at it. It is best to do this walk early in the morning or late in the afternoon, otherwise you will be walking in the full sun almost the entire time. On the route there are plenty of places to have a drink, if you don't mind the accompanying music and the somewhat noisy atmosphere. Despite the groups of men hanging around on street corners, the route is safe during the day, even for a woman alone. But if you are alone, do not deviate from the main street.

Scarlet step-by-step

- Begin your walking tour by crossing the Wilhelmina Bridge. The yellow building on your left is the Cultural Affairs Office. The large yellow building on your right, Hotel Central, was built in the mid-18th century. Note the five gables, each with a different design.

- At the end of the street, turn right into Scharlooweg. Immediately on your left you will see a dark red building with white woodwork, built from 1870. Note the series of galleries at the rear. The building style is very similar to that of the Landhuis Papaya in the western part of Curaçao and of many small country houses on the eastern part of the island. Next to it is the Consulate of Mexico. On the right is a yellow building, Ayudo Social Korsow (the Curaçao Social Assistance Foundation), which provides assistance to poor people.

- As you walk along, you will notice that many buildings are close together and most have modest gardens. Unlike in Punda, these houses are detached and were built to be lived in rather than for business purposes. On many of the unrenovated buildings, you can see what the locals mean by "wall cancer. Here the salt has eaten its way through the stones and affected the plaster on the facades.

- On the corner just before the viaduct is an impressive red and white building with a spacious garden, which has been partially renovated and now houses the Cancer Foundation. Built in the mid-18th century, the building is one of the most imposing old mansions in this area. On your left you will see the Obra di Man center (the Handicraft Foundation) where dolls in local costume are made. After the viaduct, you come to Bolivar Square with the statue of Simón Bolívar, the important South American liberator (a gift from the people of Venezuela). The pale yellow building across the square is the Sociedad Bolivariana (the Bolívar Association), a Venezuelan cultural center. On the land behind this square, the new Central Bank is being built.

- The house on the right across the square is one of the most spectacular mansions in Scharloo. Note the spacious courtyard with its broken statues and large trees. Next door are the offices of the City Superintendent and some commercial offices. Renovation of this area is in progress and you will see some of the buildings scaffolded.

- On your left you will see an excellently restored house: Scharlooweg 39. The house originally dates back to 1881 and was inaugurated in the 1950s as the island's only Ashkenazi synagogue (today the building has a different use).

- Next, on your right, you will find two new construction examples , which are designed to fit into their surroundings. These are the yellow-green Public Library and the cobalt-blue offices of the state oil company Curoil, built in the early 1990s.



- Beyond these buildings you will see the back of the Kranshi (the Population Register), where birth, death, marriage, and divorce registers are kept and marriages performed. It's worth walking around the grounds to the front. Indeed, in the shade of the cool front garden you can take a breather or take pictures . Note the curled gables and the walled porch on the upper floor, so characteristic of the architectural style at the beginning of the 18th century.

- Back on Scharloo Road across from the Kranshi is a shabby snack bar with a few sheltered wobbly benches. Don't be put off by laundry hanging in the yard or by its neglected appearance; the snack bar is right across the street from a large government building and in is very popular with the locals. Just past the snack bar is the office of the Curaçao Monuments Foundation, which is dedicated to the recognition, promotion and protection of the island's monuments. Take a look in the well-kept gardens of the red building on your left, where the Dutch, Antillean and Curaçao flags hang; today a Dutch bank is located here. This is also where George Maduro was born - a member of the Dutch resistance during World War II - after whom the miniature city of Madurodam is named.

- On your right just after the Kranshi is the Fundashon Karnaval Korsow (the Curaçao Carnival Foundation), which is active every year to make the carnival a success. The solid-looking building is the Administrative Office, where the Executive Council of Curaçao and other government offices are located.

- Then you will pass a kindergarten and on the left you will see the offices of the Akademia Pedagogiko Korsow, the teacher training college. Then you will come to a quiet, sandy, shaded square, where the local youth hang out; behind it are a number of wooden houses built at the beginning of this century.

- To your left is one of the most famous buildings on the island and the first restored building in this district: the Central Historical Archives. This green and white building is nicknamed "wedding cake," and its ornate decoration indeed looks so appetizing that you would almost want to taste a piece of it. The building dates back to 1916, making it one of Scharloo's youngest landmarks.

- Scharlooweg ends at Juliana Square (also known as Plasa Hoyer). Radio Hoyer is located in the lemon-colored building on the corner on your left. The building, which was built towards the end of the 19th century, has been completely restored to its original state.

- In the middle of the square is a beautiful yellow building where the Depos is housed. This Department of Development Cooperation channels Dutch development aid for the Netherlands Antilles. In the courtyard is a work of art made from car bumpers by the well-known Curaçao artist Yubi Kirindongo. A little further behind is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Curaçao.

- You can walk back along Scharloo Road or via a parallel street on your right, which will take you directly to Punda (there is more traffic on this road though). Turn right at the cathedral and walk straight ahead. At the fork, turn right if you want to walk back past the front of the Administration Office, the Kranshi and the Public Library and then back through Scharloo. Turn left at the fork if you want to go straight into Punda. You will then enter an area that is distinctly newer, past the Methodist Church (founded by immigrants from the English-speaking Caribbean who came to work at the oil refinery).

- At the Plasa Smeets you can enjoy the old-fashioned chimes that play every hour. On your left you will see the Pietermaaibuurt where many buildings are being renovated.

- The structure on a raft in the middle of the Waaigat is a Christmas decoration that, when the colorful lights are lit, reflects brilliantly in the water. As you walk along the Waaigat, you will have a good view of some of the buildings in Scharloo that you passed during the route. Pay particular attention to the front of the public library and the Curoil building, and compare the architectural details of the Kranshi with the yellow building next door. You will also have an excellent view of the Juliana Bridge that spans the harbor.

- As you enter Punda, you will find two interesting buildings on your right. The Bron zen Folklore Monument shows four dancers in costume accompanied by a donkey carrying a water barrel (this is how water used to be sold before the desalination plant; water was a scarce commodity on this dry island in the past).

- Across the street, just in front of the inlet is an elegant monument honoring the residents of the Netherlands Antilles who died in World War II. (When all of the Netherlands was occupied by the Germans, the Netherlands Antilles played a key role in the war.)

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