Cienfuegos Cuba

Cienfeugos Cuba is a maritime city of roughly 125,000 people with the province of about 400,000 people, is known as the “Pearl of the South”. The French who fled Haiti after the Haitian revolution established the city in 1819 in the middle of what is now known as the Main Square. This lovely square has the obligatory Jose Marti statue, a band shell and a triumphal arch to commemorate Cuba’s victory over Spain in the battle for independence. The square is surrounded primarily by neo-classical buildings including City Hall, the Pure Conception Cathedral, San Lorenzo College, Palacio Ferrer (now a cultural center) and the Tomas Terri Theater, a lovely 1886 building that, while funded by a man who bought and sold slaves, became a society icon by attracting performers such as Enrico Caruso and Sarah Bernhardt. It maintains its perfect acoustics, original frescos and wrought iron filigree-trimmed balconies.

bandsheltercity hall (2)DSC03501theatertriumph arch

 

The city also has a number of other beautiful buildings. The Paseo Prado’s western entrance to the city, for example, is a long arcaded promenade surrounded by colorful pastel arcades and a divided road separated by a park. Other particularly noteworthy buildings include the luxurious Blue Palace hotel, built in 1921 as the first E-class hotel outside of Havana, and the exclusive Cienfuegos Club which is located on the malecon and has a dock for luxury yachts and sailboats—almost all of which are from other countries.

Cienfuegos -Blue Palace 02Cienfuegos -Nautical ClubCienfuegos -ships

Then there’s the Valle Palace, a vaguely Moorish mansion, with Gothic and Venetian elements, that was built in 1917 at a cost of $1.3 million by a sugar magnate as a wedding present to his wife. We had lunch at this beautiful palace lunch (salad, a salt water fish for which no one could tell us the English name, and strawberry ice cream).

Cienfuegos -Valle Palace 01Cienfuegos -Valle Palace 02Cienfuegos -Valle Palace front viewCienfuegos -Valle Palace view 03

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