The parish of St. Michael is where you would find a wealth of history associated with Barbados. After all, this parish is where you would find the island's capital city Bridgetown. Established in 1628, Bridgetown is a commercial centre and hub of activity, having gained this official recognition after the abolition of slavery in 1838. It is accessible by foot, car or public transportation and the Port, in which cruise ships dock is just on the outskirts so passengers can make their way into the hustle and bustle of Bridgetown. The city of Bridgetown adds its own blend of uniqueness to cement Barbados as a special destination for travelers from across the globe. In the centre of town is the Careenage River, which facilitates pleasure boats and yachts travelling and docking for the convenience of its passengers right in the heart of the town. In years gone by that passage way would have been used to accommodate small island boats for commercial purposes; however that is a thing of the past.
Bridgetown can lay claim to many historical buildings and artifacts which add to its richness as a place to roam while visiting the island of Barbados. One such gem which is not much publicized is the Bridgetown Jewish Synagogue. The birth of the Jewish society in Barbados dates back to the 17th Century, where after an uprising following extreme persecution in South America, a group of some three hundred (300) Jews, fled and settled in Barbados. The Synagogue, which is located in Synagogue Lane and is in relatively close proximity to The Central Police Station, say approximately two hundred (200) yds or so from Broad Street, is the first so constructed in the western hemisphere.
The Barbados Museum sits quite impressively on the outskirts of the Garrison Savannah in the parish of St. Michael. Its current location was once the home of the former British Military Prison and became the Headquarters of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society in 1930. A bit of history to note is that the prison's top floor was built in 1817 and the bottom floor built in 1853.
The annals of history are sometimes impacted in simple, yet effective ways. In 1751, a young gentleman by the name of George Washington and his half-brother Lawrence from the USA spent a brief sojourn in Barbados. This young unknown at the time, later went on to become the President of the United States and Barbados was the only country, where he was ever known to spend time outside of his place of birth.
The Cathedral of St. Michael and All Angels, originally known as the Church of St. Michael was first built in 1628 on the site which is now occupied by the other city church, St. Mary's on Lower Broad Street in the capital city of Bridgetown, Barbados. This initial wooden structure rotted very quickly and soon had to be replaced. The church was then rebuilt in 1641 at the present location of the Cathedral but this church too, was constructed of wood and was also very small especially when compared to the colossal structure which exists today. In any case the new church was rebuilt on a parcel of land that was donated by Col. William Sharpe for the expressed purpose of the rebuilding and expansion of the church.
A look through our list of attractions throughout the parish of St. Michael will give you a better idea of what this parish has to offer.