Punda walking tour:
Experience the historic city on your own by walking through the town centre with this architectural route.
This tour will guide you through the oldest part of Willemstad, nowadays called Punda, and through a small part of the Scharloo district. The length of this route is about 2,25 km.
The oldest quarter Punda, owes its name to ‘The Point’ (Dutch: ‘De Punt’), which was the name given to the peninsula on which Fort Amsterdam was built from 1635, the oldest existing structure on the island. This name became ‘Punta’ in Spanish and changed into ‘Punda’ owing to the West-African etymology of the slaves that were imported during the 17th and 18th century, when Curaçao was a prosperous slave trading post.
In the course of the 17th century a settlement came into existence north of the Fort, called Willemstad, a walled in city on three sides. On the waterfront at St. Anna Bay the city was open.
Especially in the last quarter of the century the city grew rapidly and at the beginning of the 18th century the walled-in town became too small to accommodate the increasing expansion. Building activities began beyond the city walls. Half a kilometer to the east the first houses of the district of Pietermaai were built and north across the inland bay of ‘Waaigat’ the first mansions of the Scharloo quarter were constructed along the shore of this water.
Owing to the dense development some areas of Punda were dark and stuffy. It was not until 1861-1866 that the old 17th century wall was demolished. Finally the city could expand to the east towards the suburb of Pietermaai.