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Heritage and Tourism in Eastern Cuba

The city of Camagüey, the capital of the eastern Cuban province of the same name, holds major historic and cultural values, marked by the diversity and impact of almost five centuries of history, from the colonial period to present day.

Founded as Villa de Santa María del Puerto del Principe in the Bay of Nuevitas, Camagüey is also called "the city of the tinajones (large earthenware jars)" and shows as a peculiar element those enormous terracotta pots, used centuries ago to store rainwater.

In addition, the city exhibits a mixture of modernism with history, in an environment where new buildings are interrelated with historic attractions that provide personality to the city.

Among the relevant elements is the Church Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude), a building that dates back to the 17th century.

The church, located in the Plaza del Gallo (Rooster Square), has notable attractive features in its design, doors and windows that form façades decorated with vernacular elements characteristic of Camagüey's edifices from the Spanish colonial period.

The church has witnessed major events, including the baptism of Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, one of the most important Cuban poets from the 19th century.

City of Camagüey
City of Camagüey
Church of Our Lady of Las Mercedes

Regarding the interior structure, the Church Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is composed of an atrium, baptistery, office, central nave, two side naves, presbytery, room and sacristy.

As a peculiar element, three of four-star Encanto Hotels – Camino de Hierro, Santa María y la Avellaneda – are near the Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, a required visit for holidaymakers.

The Church Nuestra Señora de la Soledad rises in one of twelve historic squares in the city of Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe and is part of the segment declared Humankind's Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Closer to our days is the Principal Theater, which was built in 1850 and is abundant in marble and glass, while the 18th century bequeathed us the church of La Merced, where visitors can visit a Holy Sepulcher made of silver, the largest piece of that kind in the country.

The exuberance of Cuban flora has its place in Casino Campestre, the largest urban park in the interior of the country, a place for reflection and spiritual recreation that is full of statues that honor personalities from Cuban history.

A pillar of Cuban culture, this city saw the birth in 1628 of the literary work Espejo de Paciencia (Mirror of Patience), which was the first text written in Cuba, and it also has the merit of being the birthplace of National Poet Nicolás Guillén and a large group of renowned writers.

Camagüey stands as a city of one-tower temples, façades with eaves and pilasters, windows with artistic lattices, houses with interior portals and red-tile roofs, all located in a true labyrinth of alleys.

The streets show a capricious design, as city planners kept straight lines just in short sections, then took the most diverse orientations and even triangle shapes or close in one of the innumerable squares in the city's historic heart.

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