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Camagüey: A Centuries-Old History in Eastern Cuba
Date: DEC 06, 2004
Other Reports

The city of Camagüey, which was initially founded as a coastal village, treasures 490 years of history in its streets and buildings, and the peculiarity of being called the "city of tinajones" (large earthenware jars) by its dwellers.

Those huge earthenware containers, which were used to store rainwater for human consumption centuries ago, decorate gardens and parks, giving a touch of distinction to the city, which exhibits elements of its colonial past everywhere you go.

Founded in 1514 as the village of Santa María del Puerto Príncipe, the city currently features a combination of modernism and history, in a setting where modern buildings are interrelated with ancient historic sites.

Famous for its huge cattle potential, the city was moved to its current location to avoid attacks by corsairs and pirates, who were attracted by the vast wealth of the largest Antillean Island.

Camagüey is a city with one-tower temples, façades with eaves and pillars, iron-wrought windows, and houses with interior patios and red-tile roofs. All of these are elements of a sober and at the same time attractive architecture in a setting made up of a true labyrinth of alleys.

The streets have been capriciously designed, since they are straight only in short segments and then take different directions, creating triangles or ending at one of the many squares of the old village.

The city's main square is the Ignacio Agramonte Park, which was built in 1528 as the Arms Square and still preserves its condition as the core of the city's architectural structure, despite the many changes the village has undergone with the passage of time.

In the early years of the village, major administrative institutions created by the Spanish colonizers, including the venue of the government and the Iglesia Mayor, or Greater Church, surrounded the plaza, which was also the axis to design the city.

Other more recent constructions are the Principal Theater, built in 1850 and characterized by abundant marble and glass, and La Merced Church, a legacy from the 18th century that holds the Holy Sepulcher, which is the country's biggest piece of its kind and was made of 23,000 silver coins donated by a believer.

However, Camagüey is not only history. It also offers 125 kilometers of beaches for travelers interested in combining history with leisure, while ecotourism lovers can also visit the Sierra de Cubitas Mountain Range.

In that setting sits the coastal resort of Santa Lucía, which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world because of its crystal-clear waters, the presence of the world's second largest coral reef and many colonies of pink flamingos.

In a perfect combination of paradise and adventure, a large number of keys and islets - many of which are deserted and boast pristine beaches - are available as future options for those who bet on both history and leisure to spend their vacations.

Camagüey. Patio with "tinajones" (large earthenware jars)
Camagüey. Principal Theater
San Juan de Dios Square
Agramonte Park
Santa Lucía Beach
Church of Our Lady of Las Mercedes
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    Camagüey. Patio with "tinajones" (large earthenware jars)

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    Camagüey. Patio with "tinajones" (large earthenware jars) Camagüey. Principal Theater San Juan de Dios Square Agramonte Park Santa Lucía Beach Church of Our Lady of Las Mercedes Santa Lucía Beach. City of Camagüey City of Camagüey
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