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Cuba: Betting on Heritage
Date: AUG 10, 2020
Other Reports

Cuba, which is strategically located in the Caribbean region, holds a wide range of cultural and historic treasures, many of which are classified as heritage values.

In this environment, the Villa de la Santísima Trinidad stands out, as it was one of the first villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba and an obligatory visit for thousands of tourists every year.

As a unique element in the region is the so-called Valle de los Ingenios (Sugarmills' Valley), a unique treasure of the development of the sugar industry in the country.

Certified as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and located near the historic center of Trinidad-, the valley holds several dozen ruins of sugar mills, summer houses, barracks and other facilities related to sugar production.

It is considered a living museum of the sugar industry in Cuba and it holds a monumental industrial architecture due to its dimensions and rich materials, together with unique examples of domestic constructions, known as houses-dwellings of the sugar mills, some of which have been well preserved to this day.

The sugar plantation system in the region of Trinidad left, in terms of material culture, especially built cultural heritage, 73 industrial archaeological sites, where the remains of architectural structures adapted to the functions and requirements of sugar production were reported, with a boiler house, purge house, alembic, warehouse, towers and wells, dams and cisterns, homes for masters and servants, infirmary and cemeteries.

As a sign of the boom in this economic activity, in 1827, Trinidad had 56 sugar mills, which used over 11,000 slaves as labor, for a total population of 28,700 inhabitants throughout the territory linked to that product.

The promotion of this activity found very favorable natural conditions in Valle de los Ingenios, with all the resources necessary for the industry, pristine forests, fertile lands and ports available to ship product.

Add to this the dynamic expansion of the slave trade since the late 18th century, thereby guaranteeing the necessary workforce for the development of the sugar industry.

The recovery of facilities, as part of restoration works, reached several farmhouses in Valle de los Ingenios, including Buena Vista, Guachinango, San Isidro de los Destiladeros, Guáimaro and Manaca Iznaga.

Italian architect and artist Daniel Dall'Aglio left his traces of mural paintings on several of the estates on the territory, some of which are undergoing restoration with the financial support of organizations such as UNESCO.

With all these elements, the history of the sugar industry in Cuba has one of its most faithful exponents in Trinidad, an unmatched complement to the many tourist attractions in what is also known as the Museum City of Cuba.

Street in Trinidad
Street in Trinidad
Trinidad, patio
Trinidad, colonial house
Trinidad, estate
Trinidad, colonial house
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Street in Trinidad

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