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5 Fun & Interesting Places to Visit in Belize

Updated on September 22, 2012

As well as the great barrier reefs that Belize is famous for, its history as a country is well documented.

Belize has a Cathedral dating back to the early 1800s, building began 1812 and completed 1820, the oldest surviving colonial period building as well as the oldest Anglican Church in Central America, is also the only Anglican cathedral in the world outside England. St John’s Cathedral was built by slaves with bricks brought to Belize as ballast in the hulls of ships from Europe. It took eight years to build and inside visitors can still see many original architectural features including its intricate stained glass windows, the ornate mahogany pews and its antique organ. Between 1815 and 1845 four kings of the Mosquito Coast were crowned with ceremonial splendour. Members of the Royal family have been educated in Belize, their children baptised there. Today the cathedral still offers regular services to those practising Anglican residents.

Visitors will find in Belize the House of Culture, this building formerly being the residence of the British Governor of Belize. In 1814 this building was a symbol of British Colonial rule as the Government House, the seat of colonial government until 1981 when Belize got its independence from the British Commonwealth. The Belizean flag was raised for the first time September 21 1981. It acquired its current name in 1996 after receiving extensive renovations while retaining its architectural integrity while converting it for public use. Visitors can tour daily, viewing its original furnishings and the silverware from the days of the colonial governors, alongside exhibitions from Belizean artists. Today the House of Culture is home to the Institute of Social and Cultural Research and is often used for social events and open air concerts.

The Museum of Belize is a two storey brick fortress in Belize City that was once Her Majesty’s Prison. It was constructed as a prison in 1857 but opened in its current role in 2002. It housed criminals from the colonial period to soon after Independence, and today visitors are able to see a historical roadmap into Belize’s past. On entering the first floor visitors will see the exposed original brickwork and the bars on the windows, all adding to the solitary death row cell feel. The remaining space is used in a historical tour using photographs and artefacts to document 350 years of the city’s history. On the second floor visitors will find an exhibition of ancient Maya artefacts such as pottery, ornate stelae and elegant pieces of Maya jade and stone jewellery. There is a replica of the largest carved jade to be found on display in this museum, the original living in a bank vault, having been found in 1968 in Altun Ha. Other rooms contain the official Belize stamp collection, a display of photographs of old bottles, and a display of insects. In 2007 a 3D model of the reef, cayes, atolls, shells, corals and fish was opened and meant to be an impressive piece de resistance.


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