Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its capital is Willemstad. Curaçao is known for its coral reefs, used for scuba diving. The beaches on the south side contain many popular diving spots. An unusual feature of Curaçao diving is that the sea floor drops steeply within a few hundred feet of the shore, and the reef can easily be reached without a boat. This drop-off is known as the "blue edge." Strong currents and lack of beaches make the rocky northern coast dangerous for swimming and diving, but experienced divers sometimes dive there from boats when conditions permit. The southern coast is very different and offers remarkably calm waters. The coastline of Curaçao features many bays and inlets, many of them suitable for mooring.
Willemstad is the capital city of Curaçao. Formerly the capital of the Netherlands Antilles prior to its dissolution in 2010. The historic centre of the city consists of two quarters: Punda and Otrobanda. They are separated by the Sint Anna Bay, an inlet that leads into the large natural harbour called the Schottegat. The city center of Willemstad boasts an array of colonial architecture that is influenced by Dutch styles. The city center, with its peculiar architecture and beautiful harbour entry, has been made a UNESCO world heritage site. Archaeological research has also been developed there.
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