Barbados is known for a lot of things and yes, Rihanna is only one of them. But there is so much more to it than its tropical climate and exquisite beaches. While those things cannot be simply shrugged off (because they are inviting and great), there are also a few other aspects that people should be on the lookout for. For example, you could take a look at its most imposing religious structures and have a blast. Barbados, over the years, has become somewhat multicultural, and for this particular reason, it has quite an image to show. So, let’s celebrate the diversity of this fine Caribbean island by exploring its places of worship! Buckle up, fair traveller!
1. Nidhe Israel Synagogue:
Kicking off the list, the Nidhe Israel Synagogue, completed in 1654, is one of the most awe-inspiring landmarks of the island. Continuously razed and reconstructed (either by dilapidation or by the devastation of a hurricane), the Bridgetown-based establishment is like a proud bastion of rebirth hoping to be admired by as many people as it can. Known to the Jewish locals as Bet Knesset Nide Yisrael (Synagogue of the Scattered of Israel), it is one of the oldest synagogues in the western hemisphere (quite a feat, isn’t it). Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (“Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison”) in 2011 along with excavated mikveh (baths intended for subtle religious awe), it is listed as a Barbados National Trust property also. Oh, and while you’re at it, you might as well explore the relatively recently-opened Nidhe Israel Museum (in 2008), for it will offer you some detailed insight that you might not want to leave without.
2. All Saints Chapel of Ease:
Moving on! So, are you visiting Pleasant Hall in Saint Peter? Good, because that is where you shall stumble across a small historically-significant Anglican church named the All Saints Chapel of Ease. Reaching as far back into the bounds of the past as the year 1649, the chapel was created to “ease” the task of the locals of having to walk all the way to the St. James Parish Church or to the other option, the St. Peter’s Parish Church. And this is how a marvellous structure such as this becomes virtually indispensable, not only culturally vital. Ravaged by the Great Hurricane of the year 1831, it was re-erected eight years later only to be demolished after another forty years due to structural faults (quite the irony). The current incarnation was built and consecrated in 1884 and its yard houses the grave of the first English settler of Barbados: William Arnold. History buffs cannot leave this one out (wink)!
3. St. Peter’s Parish Church:
Situated majestically deep within the inner bounds of the northernmost town of the island of Barbados (Speightstown), the renowned St. Peter’s Parish Church is another fine religious structure that you should consider visiting. Encircled by majestic eighteenth century buildings and sitting right in the middle of the town, it dates back to 1629 when only a wooden building stood in its stead. In 1665, after the wooden structure had rotted away, a sturdier church was constructed because not all local residents wished to transfer their rituals to the location of the previous contestant. What’s interesting to know about it is that it is one of the three churches to have survived the massive hurricane of 1780 along with the St. Andrew’s Parish Church and the All Saint’s Chapel. This near-miss was sheer luck, however, as the 1831 hurricane flattened it without remorse. But hey, guess what! It was reconstructed six years later and it stands to this day (if we disconsider the 1980 fire that only partially destroyed it). Adhering to the subtle standards of the Georgian architectural style, it is one of the most on-and-off churches in the world.
Did you enjoy our list? Which of the above-mentioned religious structures have you witnessed and what lasting impressions have they left you with? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about your experiences. Oh, and do not forget to check back from time to time for some exciting new updates! Safe travels and see you on our next adventure!