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Oranjestad

Trip Planner Caribbean  /  Aruba  /  Oranjestad
(3.8/5 based on 12,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: shopping, adventure, outdoors
Oranjestad is the capital and largest city of Aruba. Oranjestad is located on the southern coast near the western end of the island country. In the local language, Papiamento, Oranjestad is often referred to simply as "Playa". As of 2015 the population of the capital was around 35,000.HistoryThe town was built around Fort Zoutman shortly after it was built in 1796. Initially the town had no official name, being known only as the town on the Bay of Horses (Paardenbaai in Dutch), a place from which native-bred horses were raised and exported to neighboring Curaçao. The town has ever since been the capital city of the island.The city is named after the first King William I of the Netherlands. The name was conferred on the city in the 1820s when interest in Aruba increased due to the discovery of (alluvial) gold deposits.Air Aruba once had its headquarters in Oranjestad. Air Aruba suspended its operations on October 23, 2000.Until it closed in March 2014 Tiara Air had its head office in Oranjestad.CultureThere is some Dutch Colonial architecture. Due to increased government interest in maintaining the island's cultural heritage, a number of old buildings and houses in the center of town have been transformed into colorfully restored landmarks, such as the lime-colored Civil Registry on Wilhelminastraat.EconomyTourismSeveral modern recreations have emerged, including the outdoor shopping mall at Royal Plaza, and a few scattered buildings along Main Street and on the Main Square.
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