Known as one of the most popular tourist destinations, Nassau is not only the largest city but also the capital of the Bahamas. It is located north of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti on New Providence Island. New Providence is the most populated island of the Bahamas, with 248,948 residents in Nassau as of 2010. Nassau differs from many areas around the world in that it does not have a local government but does have municipal divisions under direct control of the Federal Government. Nassau is said to be the center of the "Commonwealth of the Bahamas". This means that surrounding it are 29 islands, 2,387 smaller islands, and 661 cays or low elevation sandy islands formed on coral reefs.
Rich in history, Nassau was formerly named Charles Town. After being demolished by fire in 1684 by the Spanish, it was rebuilt in 1695 and renamed Nassau after an aristocratic dynasty in Europe called the House of Orange-Nassau. This was in honor of many including the dutch mayor, the King of Ireland, Scotland and England. By the year 1713, Nassau had become a pirate sanctuary due to lack of enforcement of the law. In 1718, the appointed Royal governor at the time restructured public administration and reinstated trade.
Culturally, the Bahamas is truly one of a kind. Bahamian culture is related to Creole cultures in other areas close to the gulf coast and Gullah cultures from South Carolina and Georgia and it is important to note that it is a mixed culture of both Africans and Europeans. While English is the official language, most of the island populations speak “Bahamian Dialect” which is considered to be a kind of broken English. Music is also a large part of this culture. Today, the Bahamians celebrate Junkanoo, which is a street carnival filled with costumed individuals that is held on Boxing Day, or December 26. This celebration boasts different forms of Caribbean melodies such as Calypso, Soca and Reggae to name a few.
There are many other areas to see and activities to experience in Nassau. If you are traveling, it is good to know that it is the Port of Call for cruise ships and can dock up to seven cruise ships at a time. It is also very well known for Paradise Island which is the home of the huge island resort Atlantis. This world famous resort boasts some pretty amazing amenities such as night clubs, bars, multiple pools and a shark adventure water slide. There is also a timeshare complex, The Harborside Resort at Atlantis, which sits just a short distance away from all the action and is ideal for families and couples wanting more privacy, luxury and space in their accommodation. The Atlantis also features a Water Park, a Marine Habitat, and daily entertainment. On a side note, this resort is the largest employer not a part of the government and employs 6,000 people. It hosted the “Worlds’ Strongest Man” competition in 2004 and the Miss Universe Pageant in 2009. There is a vast array of transportation to get around to the gardens, zoo, art galleries, shopping, restaurants and much, much more. The weather is wonderful; never getting lower than 92 during the summer months and usually between 68 and 80 degrees during the winter time.
This area has also been featured in movies dating back to the 1960's. The James Bond movie “Casino Royale” was filmed in 2006.