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Cuba: Central Cuba Celebrates Five Centuries of History

The central province of Sancti Spíritus, with two of the first villages founded by the Spanish in Cuba, has the special privilege of celebrating the 500th anniversary of such event.

Initially named as Villa del Espíritu Santo (Village of the Holy Spirit), the village was originally founded on the banks of the Tuinicú River, the current Pueblo Viejo community, and then it was moved to the banks of the Yayabo River by 1552.

Sancti Spíritus was the fourth of the first seven villages founded by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century and it has a particular and attractive combination of architectural and historic values, cultural traditions and natural beauties.

The city´s heart is mainly composed of three construction styles and it has more than 1,000 buildings with architectural values based on the masonry used and the traditional adobe.

The Spanish baroque style is present in the large arcades of ancient upper-class mansions in an urban structure classically designed with the church and its square in the center, a tendency which evolved toward a constructive method adapted to the country´s conditions.

The territory also holds the ancient village of Trinidad, the third of its kind in the island and also founded in 1514, which has the additional attraction of being one of the best preserved sites of the continent in terms of colonial architecture, a fact which earned it the status of World Heritage Site, granted by UNESCO.

Tower at Manaca-Iznaga Sugar Mill, Trinidad

Trinidad´s historic heart holds an actual mixture of construction styles from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, with narrow cobblestone streets flanked with buildings showing beautiful carpentry made of precious wood, complex ironwork and decorated walls.

The main square, hub of the old village, is adorned by a statue of Terpsichore –the muse of dance and music- which is accompanied by the extraordinary beauty of the Church of the Holy Trinity, a loyal guardian of valuable pieces from the Cuban religious treasure.

Large, comfortable and well ventilated colonial houses; palaces where luxury and money were squandered to become part of the Cuban colonial art turn Trinidad into an indisputable urban and architectural jewel.

By the 17th century, the main economic activities begin to develop in the village including cattle raising, tobacco and smuggling; eventually, the village turns to the sugar industry in the 18th century, thus becoming by 1827 into the city with the highest number of brick, roof tiled houses per inhabitant in Cuba.

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