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Sancti Spiritus: Five Hundred Years Old and Still Young

The central Cuban province of Sancti Spiritus holds, as a peculiar element, two of the first villages founded by the Spaniards in Caribbean island.

Founded in early 1514, the so-called Villa del Espíritu Santos has accumulated 504 years of activity. It was moved to the banks of the Yayabo River in 1552.

The fourth among the seven villas established in Cuba by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, Sancti Spiritus holds architectural, historical, cultural traditions and natural beauties, in an attractive and unique combination.

Founded by Conqueror Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, Sancti Spiritus has a space – on Honorato Street – that recalls with five large bells the history that has gone by since June 4, 1514, to 2014, the date on the city celebrated its 500th anniversary.

Each of them collects 100 years; that is to say, the first one covers 1514 to 1614 and so on until the five centuries of life of this city are completed.

In addition, three constructive styles coincide in the colonial area of the city, where more than 1,000 buildings with high architectural values are located, made of masonry and traditional adobe.

Trinidad, popular dances
Street in Trinidad

The Spanish Baroque is present in the wide portals of the stately mansions of yesteryears, in a structure where the wide square with the church at the center constituted the classic design of towns, a trend that evolved towards a constructive method adapted to the conditions of the country.

In the 18th century, the neoclassical style burst forth with force, and it is present today in the ornamentation of doors and windows with beautiful iron railings with beautiful filigrees, in which craftsmen sought to fulfill the double duty of protection and decoration.

In downtown is the Parochial Major Church, which was built in 1680 and is considered today the oldest building in the city. The church was declared a National Monument.

In the construction of the building, the architecture has its artistic antecedent in the Mudejar style and it is said that its plant is almost identical to that of Villa de Alcor, in Huelva, Spain.

In this regard, the use of cloister corner vaults, arches made of bricks in radial arrangement and arcs of discharge are elements used with great skill.

Sancti Spiritus also holds the old Villa de la Trinidad, third village founded in the – in 1514 – and with the additional attraction of being one of the best-preserved sites in the continent in terms of colonial architecture.

Also called the City Museum of Cuba, Trinidad has the privilege of being one of the colonial towns of the country and it also qualifies among the most complete and best-preserved architectural complexes of the American continent.

Declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1988 and an obligatory route to conquer new territories, Trinidad was founded near the banks of the Guaurabo River, where the Spaniards found an aboriginal population who they used as slave labor, fertile lands and excellent ports to prepare expeditions.

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