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Culture, History and Leisure in Central Cuba

The Cuban central area, full of natural attractions for tourism, has an important cultural and historic heritage which complements the tourist options.

In this territory, the city of Trinidad, formerly known as Villa de la Santísima Trinidad (Village of the Holy Trinity), stands out as one of the first seven villages founded by the Spanish in the Cuban archipelago.

The village, founded in 1514 by Governor Diego Velázquez, holds one of the best preserved colonial architectural complexes in the Americas which earned it the condition of World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In Trinidad’s historic heart, an actual combination of architectural styles from the 18th, 19th and the turn of the 20th centuries can be appreciated, including narrow cobblestone streets between houses of superb woodwork, wrought-iron windows and ornamented walls.

The city’s main square has a statue of Terpsichore –the Greek Muse of dancing and choral song- accompanied by the church of the Holy Trinity, of peculiar beauty, where various pieces of the Cuban religious treasure are kept.

The valuable pieces include, among others, the Christ of the Holy Cross in a marble altar dedicated to the Virgin of Mercy, the only of its kind in the country.

Trinidad, Cantero Palace
Square in Trinidad. General view
Tower at Manaca-Iznaga Sugar Mill, Trinidad

Trinidad is surrounded by mountains with thick vegetation and famous valleys which hold the remains of ancient sugar mills.

The area also has the Escambray mountain range, where the most varied plant species, ranging from unique arborescent ferns and wild orchids to conifer woods can be observed; complemented by several endemic fauna species.

The territory also has large cavern systems which preserve several stories related to the existence of the city itself and the indigenous population.

One of these stories is the legend of the Cueva La Maravillosa (The Marvelous Cave), inserted in a complex of two dozen caves located on the southern area of the Escambray mountain range, which tells about the Indian girl Caucubú, from the Guamuhaya chieftainship, and her everlasting love for Naribó.

The story ends tragically because the young girl sought refuge in a cave and died of love when she learned that Naribó had killed himself by jumping against the rocks when he knew about the intentions of Caucubú’s father to give the girl to the village governor.

A fountain to honor the girl is located inside La Maravillosa cave and, according to the legend, its waters have the virtue of rejuvenating those who drink the water or wash themselves with it.

Another important element is the Cantero palace, composed of three floors and a viewpoint, while the Borell palace is famous for the paintings on its walls.

The turmoil of past centuries, with a strong presence of pirates in the surrounding seas of the island, also left its marks in the city since, according to specialists; the streets have curves in every corner as a defense against possible pirate attacks.

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