The Jewish cemetery in Nevis is a poignant reminder of the once-thriving Jewish community that lived on the island. Found in Charlestown, the island’s capital, the cemetery has headstones dating back to the late 17th century, when a number of Jewish families lived on the Caribbean island.
In the 17th century, the island of Nevis (part of the Leeward Islands) was a thriving sugar-growing region of some 20,000 inhabitants and was under British rule. It also had a sizable Jewish population, some of whom came to the island from Brazil after being expelled by the Portuguese, while others moved from nearby Barbados. The Jewish cemetery is a lasting reminder of their legacy, although only 19 tombstones remain, with inscriptions in English, Hebrew, and Portuguese.
The cemetery is located in what would formerly have been Charlestown’s Jewish neighborhood, and although there was once a synagogue and Jewish school, there are no traces left of these buildings today. Visitors can learn more about Charlestown’s Jewish history on a bike tour of the island’s most historic sights.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The cemetery is open to the public and free of charge.
- From the cemetery, you can take the walking path known as “Jews Walk,” which is believed to have led to the Jewish school.
- The clapboard house diagonally opposite the cemetery is built on the location of the former synagogue.
- Nevis library houses several books about the area’s Jewish history.
How to Get There
The Jewish cemetery is located off Government Road in Charlestown, on the island of Nevis. There is parking available in the town, and the site is accessible on foot from other locations in Charlestown, or via taxi or guided bike tour of the area.
When to Get There
The cemetery is open to the public year-round, and there is no entry fee. The site is not usually busy. There is very little shade, so consider visiting earlier or later in the day for cooler temperatures.
Get Out on the Water in Nevis
From snorkeling to sailing to guided kayaking tours, enjoying the wild blue yonder is all part of the experience on the island of Nevis. Waters are calm along the beaches for the most part, making the island ideal for swimming and snorkeling, while a number of sailing operators offer tours or yacht rentals if you want to explore further afield.