Trinidad: one of the most beautiful colonial cities in America

Posted: 21-Apr-16 09:51

Spanish newspaper El Pais recently published its top ten of the most beautiful cities and colonial towns in Latin America, naming Trinidad as one of them. The small Cuban city, located in the centre of the island, was founded at the beginning of the 16th century by Spanish conqueror Diego Velazquez, thus becoming the third settlement to be built in Cuba after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Trinidad: one of the most beautiful colonial cities in America

In its Travel section, Spanish newspaper El Pais recently declared the Cuban city of Trinidad as among the most beautiful and well-preserved colonial towns in Latin America. The publication highlights the charm of its cobblestone streets and the combination of bright colours in the old buildings as Trinidad’s most delightful features.

Trinidad is located in the centre of Cuba at 365 kilometres east of Havana, and is one of the eight municipalities within the Sancti Spiritus province. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage site in 1988 along with the nearby El Valle de los Ingenios (The Valley of the Sugar Mills), an area where Cuba’s booming sugar industry rapidly developed over the late 18th and 19th century.

El Pais recommends tourists to walk along the streets of Trinidad and to carefully observe its centuries-old and late bourgeois buildings. Writer Miguel Angel Medina states that it’s definitely worth it to book a stay in casas particulares (privately rented houses), where visitors can seize the spirit of the locals’ day-to-day life.

He also suggests asking for homemade tropical juices in these casas particulares and to try mojitos (Cuba’s most famous cocktail made of rum, peppermint, sugar, lemon, and water) at any of the several bars in the city. For nightly entertainment the author says tourists should head to the Casa de la Musica to enjoy live traditional music and dancing in a place that also has a beautiful staircase inviting visitors to sit in and observe the urban scenario.

In the images selected for the article, El Pais showcases two of the city’s oldest streets with the presence of an old American car in one of them, thus drawing attention to its old-world atmosphere. One of the buildings photographed is the San Francisco church and cloister, a building with a four-level tower turned into a museum that nowadays pays tribute to the first years of the Cuban Revolution and the fight against counter-revolutionary forces over the early 1960s in the neighbouring Escambray mountain range.

The author of the article also makes reference to the significance of the sugar industry for the development of this area in the 19th century, a period when the majority of the large and well-ventilated houses that surround the main squares were built. Medina states that:

“... these luxurious mansions remain intact, as though frozen in time.”

When visiting Trinidad, tourist will also be delighted by historic buildings like the Romantic Museum, the Guamuhaya Archeological Museum, the Craftsmen Square, and the ancient Carcel Real (Royal Penitencary).

In 2014, when Trinidad celebrated the 500th anniversary of its foundation, El Pais published an article where journalist Mauricio Vicent documented how private businesses oriented towards the tourism sector have blossomed in the area while local authorities struggle for the preservation of the colonial heritage.

“Today to walk down any street in Trinidad is like to travel to another era. The magic of its past lingers and lives with a new reality of small hotels, paladares, and bars that bring to the city a new renaissance.”

Concluded Mr Vicent in his article.


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