Vivacious and striking, Paramaribo is where Dutch and Indian cultures collide. In the capital of Suriname, colonial buildings line grassy squares, locals sell paintings in the shadows of somber Dutch forts and the thick aroma of exotic spices emanates from Indian roti shops. Parbo, as the locals call it, is a multi-ethnic feast for all the senses.
Throw yourself into the culture of the capital at the Central Market. The frenzied shopping center is the best place to experience all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes Paramaribo has to offer. Located on the waterfront, the sprawling market is actually divided into three distinct markets. At the Maroon market, locals sell ceremonial and medicinal goods, including bizarre offerings like feathers, bones, caged monkeys and various herbal remedies. The Indian and Asian market is practically overflowing with delicious foods, plastic knick knacks and local handicrafts. At the fish market, you can enjoy the river views as fishermen unload the daily catch from the colorful boats each afternoon.
The city’s central square is pleasant and picturesque. In the center is a statue of Pengel, the legendary former prime minister of Suriname. The square is surrounded by the stately Presidential Palace, an elegant example of 18th-century architecture, an ultramodern bank building and aging government offices. Just behind the Presidential Palace lies the shady haven of the Palmentuin. There, tropical birds swoop from the royal palms and a troop of capuchin monkeys entertains visitors.
The city’s Roman Catholic Petrus and Paulus Cathedral is one of the world’s largest wooden structures. Built in 1885, the structure is now slightly rickety but features incredibly ornate carved wooden details. Due to restoration work, some scaffolding affects the overall appearance, but the cathedral is still worth seeing, especially to enjoy the views from the spires.
The area around the cathedral is home to many other fine examples of places of worship. On Keizerstraat, the Dutch Israeli synagogue and the Caribbean’s biggest mosque sit side by side in harmony. Both sights are worth visiting for their historic value and architectural grace.
Paramaribo lies on a bend in the Suriname River, and the area has been watched over by Fort Zeelandia for more than 300 years. Constructed by the French, expanded by the British and finished by the Dutch, the well-restored fort offers memorable views along the river and is a favorite attraction of history buffs.
Inside the fort is the Stichting Surinaams Museum, which highlights a grand collection of colonial-era relics. Visitors can also walk through rooms decorated in period style.
Visitors interested in coins and banknotes will find the Numismatic Museum fascinating. The small but detailed collection includes pieces from as far back as the Dutch era, with the highlight being a 1679 copper Parrot coin.
There are a number of fine restaurants in the city that reflect Suriname’s diverse population. The local cuisine is a mix of international delights from Indonesia, Africa, the Netherlands, Portugal, Israel, India and China, and roti, noodles, fried rice and pom are staples. Madame Jeanette peppers often add taste to chicken and vegetable meals, and groundnuts, cassava and beans are also common in Surinamese kitchens.
Paramaribo Geographical Location
Paramaribo is located on the banks of the Suriname River on the central northern coast of Suriname.
Paramibo is the largest city in Suriname and has a population of approximately 245,000.
Dutch is the official language of Suriname but English is widely spoken. Sranang Tongo is very popular as well.
Paramaribo Predominant Religion
- 27.5% Hindu
- 25.5% Protestant
- 23% Roman Catholic
- 19.5% Muslim
- 5% Indigenous Beliefs
The Moravian Church is the oldest and largest denomination within Surinamer Protestants.
The Surinamese Dollar is the official currency of Surinamer.
Paramaribo has a tropical rainforest climate in which it rains frequently throughout the year. Temperatures are consistently warm and do not change much with the seasons.
Paramaribo Main Attractions
- Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral
Other Attraction in Paramaribo
- Fort Zeelandia
- Paramaribo Zoo
- Presidential Palace
- Independence Square