Home to several of the most important buildings in the Bahamas, Parliament Square Nassau is the political center of the country. With historic buildings and a central location, it’s a fun and educational place to visit while you’re in the Bahamas.
With a history stretching back centuries, Parliament Square Nassau has witnessed a lot. Having been a political hub for hundreds of years, it sheltered Revolutionary War Loyalists in the past and has fostered political dialogue in the present. Today, given its historic and cultural significance, it’s one of many Nassau attractions you’ll want to check out.
When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1776, Loyalists sympathetic to Great Britain sought refuge in other territories. Given its proximity to the 13 Colonies, many fled to the Bahamas.
After arriving in the Bahamas in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, Loyalists constructed Parliament Square. Seeking to honor the capitals of the southern states from which they fled, the buildings they erected exhibited the colorful colonial architecture commonplace in their American homes.
In the centuries since the construction of the buildings, Parliament Square Nassau has received numerous additions. From a statue of Queen Victoria, the monarch who ruled Great Britain for 63 years, to additional government buildings, today, Parliament Square is an eclectic collection of colors and history.
Parliament Square Nassau is small, but there are some interesting sites worth seeing in the area. You can expect to spend around 10 minutes seeing everything.
The House of Assembly is the building on the right-hand side of the square. Inside the structure, the Bahamian prime minister, the 38 members of the House of Assembly, and the 16 members of the Senate convene to work through domestic and international political matters.
If the House is meeting when you’re visiting, you can listen to the debates taking place from the gallery inside the building.
The Senate Building is the structure in the center of Parliament Square. When Bahamian senators aren’t inside the House of Assembly, they work from the Senate Building.
Constructed in 1921, the building that houses the Supreme Court of the Bahamas is at the back of the Senate building. Its members (who dress in traditional British robes and wigs) meet four times throughout the year.
In front of the Senate Building is a statue of Queen Victoria. Built on May 24th, 1905 to commemorate her birthday, she ruled Great Britain for decades when the Bahamas was still a colony.
Her legacy in the Bahamas, along with that of other British rulers, is complex and often the subject of debate.
Visiting Parliament Square is one of the best things to do in Downtown Nassau because of where it is. With its central location, it’s one of the most accessible places to visit on the island.
If you’re arriving in the capital on a cruise ship, you can reach Parliament Square Nassau from the cruise terminal in around five minutes. Just head south from the terminal until you reach Bay Street, one of the major Nassau roads. You’ll find the square at the corner of Bay Street and Parliament Street.
Travelers staying at hotels on New Providence or Paradise Island can make a visit to the square part of a larger Nassau Old Town tour. Given the number of historical things to do in Downtown Nassau, you can easily spend an afternoon sightseeing around the area.
Parliament Square Nassau features several buildings, statues, and monuments scattered around the square. The brightly-colored architecture makes a great backdrop for pictures, so have your camera ready as you walk around.
If you’re interested in history, you can also spend some time reading the posted signs. They can help you get a better understanding of how Parliament Square fits into Nassau Old Town.
Depending on when you visit the Bahamas, you may see Parliament Square looking a bit different than it usually does. From a nativity scene around Christmas to colorful banners celebrating Bahamian independence on July 10th, decorations commemorating different events throughout the year often pop up. Keep an eye out for these, as they add some additional flavor to the colorful square!
Parliament Square Nassau houses some of the most important buildings in the Bahamas. Like many places in the country, it has a colorful past – one that makes it a worthwhile stop on any Nassau Old Town tour.
After visiting Parliament Square Nassau, you’ll find yourself near some of the best attractions on the island. From sampling local art at nearby Graycliff Heritage Village to touring Queen’s Staircase and Fort Fincastle, the best of Bay Street Nassau is just a short walk away.
Anyone looking to learn more about the different Nassau attractions will want to check out the rest of our site. Our destination guides and interactive map can help ensure you plan a Bahamas vacation you’ll never forget!Explore our Nassau Travel Guides