Guyana, although located in South America, is proud to be part of the Caribbean community. Its complex early history is reflected in the country’s cultural diversity and rich architectural heritage.
When Columbus first sighted Guyana in 1498 it was a land inhabited by the Arawak and Carib tribes of Amerindians. Over the centuries it has been fought over by the Spanish, French, Dutch and British and the names of the old sugar plantations and estates reflect this heritage. Names like La Bonne Intention, Uitvlugt, Versailles and Albion.
Exotic ethnic cocktail
Its ethnic diversity is an exotic cocktail: East Indian, African, Amerindian, Chinese, British, Dutch and Caribbean, all retaining their own cultural and religious traditions.
Hindu temples rub shoulders with mosques and the capital Georgetown’s St George’s Anglican Cathedral is the second largest wooden house of worship in the world. This and the many other beautiful examples of wooden architecture in Georgetown and New Amsterdam reflect its colourful colonial past.
Guyana (formerly British Guiana and the only English-speaking country in South America) shares with equal exuberance the Caribbean culture, embracing food, music, festivals and folklore, and – of course – cricket. In 2007 it played host to the Cricket World Cup at the newly built Providence National Stadium.
A ‘hotpot’ of sounds and savours
The music and cuisine of Guyana both reflect the country’s extraordinarily diverse cultural influences including Afro- and Indo-Caribbean and Latin American. In fact, a popular ingredient of this delicious ‘hotpot’ of sensations is Chutney - not only a spicy culinary accompaniment but also a popular form of music indigenous to the southern Caribbean.
Photos courtesy of Fotonatura