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Oranjestad Travel Guide

Oranjestad is the capital and only town in St. Eustatius. It is home to less than 1,000 people. Set atop cliffs, it is divided into an Upper and Lower Town separated by the cliffs. The town has a historical harbor and waterfront in Lower Town and a modern commercial center and seafront in the Upper Town.

In the Upper Town, the main attractions are Fort Oranje, which dates back to 1636, and the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum (or Simon Doncker Museum). The former is a military fort that has suffered numerous shellings over the years, and was also the camp site of British Admiral George Rodney when he attacked and pillaged the island during the Revolutionary War. The fort set on a Cliffside has cannons and fortifications, highlighted by a beautiful courtyard. The latter, the Simon Doncker Museum, is set in an 18th century house and has a collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts, most of which shed light on the Saladoid Indians of South America who came to the island around 1,000 BC and left around 1,000 AD. They left behind artifacts that have allowed archaeologists to piece together their houses and daily life. You’ll also find charming colonial churches and shops in the Upper Town. Other attractions in Upper Town include an abandoned Jewish synagogue and cemetery. The synagogue is actually the second oldest in the western hemisphere. There is also an 18th century Dutch reformed church that lies in ruins. It has a tower that can be climbed for spectacular views of the town and island.

The Lower Town can be reached by taking Fort Road. This part of Oranjestad has been completely abandoned; it was once a thriving settlement during the 18th century.

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