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Cuba: 500 Years of Culture and Traditions

The city of Camagüey, capital of the province by the same name, has accumulated in its five centuries of existence an incomparable historic and cultural heritage which has come a long way since colonial times.

The village was initially founded next to the Nuevitas bay under the name of Villa de Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe; it was eventually moved inward near the banks of the Caonao River and later on to its current location where in the early 19th century it was officially named Camagüey.

Camagüey is also known as “La Ciudad de los Tinajones” (The City of Large Earthenware Jars) since this type of large earthenware container was widely used for storing rain water for human consumption; nowadays they are mainly a decoration in gardens and parks.

In addition, the city currently presents a combination of modernism and history in an environment in which the new buildings are combined with those historic attractions which enhance the city’s elegance.

Camagüey is still a city characterized by one-tower churches, facades with archivolts and pilasters, artistic wrought-iron windows, houses with interior thresholds and red-tile roofs, which are all elements of a sober and attractive architecture located in an actual maze of narrow streets.

The streets show an unusual urban planning, keeping a short straight line and then winding in different directions that even create triangles, or eventually end up in one of the innumerable city’s squares.

Countryside Casino.
City of Camagüey
City of Camagüey

The main square in the city is the Ignacio Agramonte Park, founded in 1528 as Plaza de Armas (Arms Square), which remains as the core of the city’s architectural structure despite the changes caused by the passage of time.

A little closer to the present is the Principal Theater, which was built in 1850 using abundant marble and glass pieces; while the 18th century contributed the legacy of La Merced Church where visitors can see a Holy Sepulcher made of silver, the largest piece of its kind in Cuba.

In addition, many of the heritage sites are being subject to a comprehensive restoration program to recuperate the original features which characterized such places.

In this sense, the works on the República pedestrian street were concluded; the street links the train station and the northern area of the city with the city’s historic heart which was given the status of World Heritage Site.

Also, the exuberant Cuban flora can be enjoyed at the Casino Campestre, the largest urban park in Cuba and a place for meditation and spiritual relaxation, where many statues which pay tribute to personalities of the Cuban history are located.

Camagüey is also a mainstay of the Cuban culture since “Espejo de Paciencia”, the first Cuban literary piece was written in this city in 1628; in addition, Camagüey has the privilege of being the birthplace of the Cuban National Poet Nicolás Guillén and many other renowned writers.

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