The city of Cienfuegos, capital of the province by the same name, stands out in its condition of “Perla del Sur” (Pearl of the South), as a unique tourist destination supported by 195 years of history since its foundation.
Known in colony times as Fernadina de Sagua, the city´s historic heart is also privileged by its condition as World Heritage Site granted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Among other places, tourists may select, from a vast list of interesting sites, to visit the Fortress of Our Lady of the Angels, which was built in 1745 and it is the only one of its kind in central Cuba.
The fortress has a circular-based tower with narrow and vertical loopholes, while its dome has an embrasure resembling a quiet but alert eye watching over the always calm waters of the sea.
As complement, the fortress was subject to a restoration process which now allows visitors to fully appreciate the splendor of its original chapel, cells and moat which prevent access to the fortress if the drawbridge is up.
Meanwhile, the city´s botanic garden, famous for being the oldest one in Cuba, has more than 1,600 tropical and subtropical plant species in an area of 90 hectares.
The garden, created in 1901 and declared as National Monument, was opened to the public in 1940 and it even functioned as a biological research laboratory for the Harvard University, in the United States.
The historic options may lead visitors to the Tomás Acea Necropolis where the tombstones in the niches are actual art jewels of bas-relief statues while the exterior is adorned by beautiful cast iron grilles forged over 150 years ago.
By 1819, the colonists who came from Bordeaux, France, took on the original design of the city and started the construction of houses and public buildings in the first 25 blocks of the original town´s heart.
Straight and wide streets, continuous facades of high props and solemn neoclassic and eclectic buildings make up the image of a city which still preserves a colonial construction style.
The restoration work has allowed recuperating important public areas and buildings, including the Martí Park (former Main Square) and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Pure Conception.
In addition, the city, regarded as an architectural jewel of French influence, has one of the best bays in the world, taking into account its dimensions, depth and safety.