Declared a UNESCO World Heritage sight in 1988, the Plaza Mayor is the historic centre of Trinidad. The buildings surrounding the place are historic, with several dating back to the 18th century. They are reminiscent of an opulent era in Trinidad’s history when sugar trade based in the nearby Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) brought great wealth to the city. Today, most the buildings are very well preserved, and many house museums.
To the northeast of the plaza, visitors will find the 19th century Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad (Church of the Holy Trinity). This fascinating church, which boasts a beautiful neoclassical façade, is home to the famous El Señor de la Vera Cruz (The Lord of the True Cross), an object of great significance to the people of Trinidad. Next to the church, visitors will find La Casa de los Conspiradores (House of the Conspirators). Taking its name from its old role as a meeting house for the Cuban nationalist secret society La Rosa de Cuba (The Rose of Cuba), the house boasts a beautiful wooden balcony that offers excellent views of the Plaza Mayor.
Another major draw of the Plaza Mayor is its elegant mansions, many of which were home to some of the city’s most notable historical figures. Some of the notable residences in the plaza include Casa de Aldemán Ortiz (House of Mayor Ortiz) and Palacio Brunet (Brunet Palace), constructed by the wealthy head of the Borell family in 1812. This elegant mansion now houses El Museo Romantico (The Romantic Museum). The museum provides an excellent look into Cuba’s opulent past. It boasts a central balustraded courtyard, original marble floors, antique frescoes, and a stunning neoclassical decor. Take a peek inside one of the cupboards, and you will even find the family’s original earthenware.
However, it is the Palacio Cantero (Cantero Palace) that is arguably the most spectacular of Plaza Mayor’s mansions. Visitors will find original frescoes in the main hall of the home, as well as a spacious entrance that opens up to a lush courtyard. Today, the home houses the Museo de Historia Municipal (Municipal History Museum) and provides a fascinating peek into Trinidad’s past.
Full of History
In the surrounding area, you can find El Museo de la Lucha contra Bandidos (The Museum of the Fight against Bandits). Perhaps, it is the most recognizable building in Trinidad. The battle in question took place post-revolution between Fidel Castro’s forces and counter-revolution forces that took refuge in the nearby Escambray Mountains.
Last but not least, for those with an interest in pre-Colombian times, El Museo de Arqueología Guamuhaya (The Museum of Guamuhaya Archaeology) is a must. It boasts a number of pre-Colombian artefacts, as well as objects leftover from the Spanish conquest.
All in all, the Plaza Mayor is more than just gorgeous frescoes, beautiful balconies, and stunning colonial architecture. While these sights are bound to impress, it’s Trinidad’s fascinating local legends, from colonial divine intervention to recent times , that will really captivate your attention.
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