The Jewels of Cuban Colonial Architecture

By: Jose Ramon Castro

Cuba is truly an unique and amazing country, while its beaches and resorts are on a par with anywhere else in the world, it is the culture, music, architecture and its people that really make it a place worth visiting, and also make the difference with others Caribbean countries. Cuba has some of biggest and better conserved Spanish colonial architecture cores in America.

Don Diego de Velazquez, the island's governor, begun the conquer and settle of Cuba during 1510's and he was the founder of the first Cuban townships.

Between 1512 and 1519 were founded Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion de Baracoa, San Salvador de Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, Santisima Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus, Santa Maria del Puerto del Principe (Camaguey today), San Juan de los Remedios and San Cristobal de La Habana. Today, they still preserve part of their charming and hoary dignified antiquity. Havana and Trinidad are, without any possible doubt, the ones that still maintain their historic cores with the highest percentage of surviving antique buildings and public squares, assembling architectonic, historic and cultural compounds of great value. Both have been registered by UNESCO as World Heritage.

Havana, with the biggest colonial core in America, today work hardly for preserve its heritage and it's a magnificent place to visit and walk, the old part of town features buildings of superb architectural value, a privileged array of plazas and squares, and a mighty defensive system that combine all to make up the most amazing historic urban core of the entire Caribbean and the Americas.

Trinidad, also called the Museum City in Caribbean, charming and beautiful jewel of colonial treasure of Cuba also is worth a visit, it conserve yet the atmosphere of past time and also is surrounding for a beautiful beach, Playa Ancon, and for Escambray Range, a natural paradise.

Nevertheless, the rest are not less worthy in architectonic and historic monuments, public squares, and palaces. Bayamo, for instance, was burnt completely by its own inhabitants in the early days of the Ten Years War of 1868, so it would not fall in enemy hands. But it still treasures part of the original Parochial Church and countless extremely important historic site, plus the local color of its traditions, like the buggy rides along its aged streets. Yesterday's Puerto Principe, today's Camaguey, with a historic core as large as Havana's and many times larger than Trinidad's, shows visitors it small streets of peculiar outlines, its churches, squares and its mansions, with homely courtyard presided by the large jar-shaped clay tinajones, used locally as rain water collectors. San Juan de los Remedios, a small and pretty town in the center of the island also conserve a small colonial core and very funny local traditions, in its surroundings are Caibarien, other interesting fishmen town and Cayo Santa Maria, a tiny cay with a magnificent beach and some of better hotels in Cuba.

Baracoa and Santiago de Cuba are charmingly authentic. Placed by the sea and surrounded by mountains, the Caribbean atmosphere in their ways of life is particularly strong in Santiago de Cuba, while in Baracoa yet are visible the consequences of geographic isolation for many years in the past . Santiago's San Pedro de la Roca del Morro castle, Adelantado Velazquez's house, Santiagos' Cathedral, Carnaval Museum, Parque Cespedes, Bacardi Museum, all are worth visiting. The very first thing that meets the eye is the burg's architecture, a peculiar blend of colonial and eclectic styles harking back the Republic's early going. Baracoa, the Primate City, Cuba's first capital, jealously guard the first Christian relic in the New World: the Holy Cross of Parra, kept at Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion Church, also an incredible natural surroundings revalue the city.

More information about Cuba at http://www.hicuba.com

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