By Mayté Solano Gómez
Trinidad is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Cuba. It is a fact that this region with an area of only 1,155 km² and a population of approximately 17,700 inhabitants, has everything or almost everything a tourist could want for a leisure trip: a city with history, architecture, culture and tradition; fine sandy beaches with transparent seawater and mountains rich in nativ flora and fauna, stunning landscapes and even a different climate compared to the rest of the island, truly welcoming. And most important … a population that overflows with Cuban hospitality.
In this article, we will be talking about the city.
Founded in 1514 by Spanish colonists, it was considered a city of “contraband”. It prospered to sucha degree that in a short time there were here several of the wealthiest men in Cuba. Since its foundation, the economic activities carried out in this city have been varied. From the extraction of gold in the time of the Indians, to the cultivation of tobacco and sugar cane.
Trinidad was most likely the Cuban town most attacked by corsairs and pirates and a favorite site for bandits and outlaws.
Also known as the Museum City, many consider it perfectly preserved. For instance, the streets in the historic center of the city are kept cobbled, making it difficult for cars to circulate or to walk in heels. The colonial architecture remains practically intact. Houses of this style still display high ceilings, large interior courtyards and spacious rooms.
The medieval layout of Trinidad does not follow the straight lines found in other cities in Cuba and the Caribbean. Trinidad, isolated by the mountains and by the sea, was not considered important. Therefore, it did not merit the protection of fortifications. Hence, in its design and construction, the presence of military engineers, directly responsible for the orthogonality of Caribbean cities, was not needed. This explains the “spider web” arrangement of the streets.
Because of all this, on October 10, 1978 the old town was declared a National Monument and on December 8, 1988, UNESCO granted the City of Trinidad and its Valle de los Ingenios the category of World Heritage.
Places of interest in the city of Trinidad
The Plaza Mayor (Main Square)
It is the historic center of the city, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. But it was not the center of the town until the second half of the 17th century. The Major Church of the Holy Trinity is the main building.
The Greater Church of the Holy Trinity has, since its creation, been destroyed by the English, devastated by a hurricane and completely demolished, before being rebuilt in the form we see today.
Initially, the facade of the church and of the houses surrounding the Plaza did not face inwards, but were on its side, with the entrance facades facing the streets that lead to the plaza. The transformation of this important space took place in the first half of the 19th century, when it abandoned its rural appearance. The houses turned their fronts towards the plaza as well as the church, giving prominence to the public space that has become a recreation park.
The Colonial Architecture Museum
It is located next to Plaza Mayor, where the Sánchez Iznaga family’s home was once. Also known as the Blue House. It is a unique museum of its kind in the country. The pieces that the institution treasures allow us to distinguish the elements that characterize the local architecture. The building is itself the main architectural within the collection.
Among the services offered by the museum, you can visit the institution and the surrounding streets independently or on a guided tour with explanations of history from an economic, political and social point of view. There is also the option of guided visits to the Valle de los Ingenios.
Many of the houses in Trinidad conserve the colonial style and furniture. Casa María and Enddy is an example of it. Nevertheless, modern amenities provide the guests´comfort.
The National Museum of Fight Against Bandits
This cultural institution is located in the old Convent and Church of San Francisco de Asís. It treasures the history of the military corps created in Cuba to combat the counterrevolutionary gangs that existed in the central region between 1959 and 1965. This war against groups opposed to the revolutionary government was called the Fight against Bandits.
The museum opened its doors for the first time in 1984. It is categorized as category I, which indicates that it is specialized in history, weapons and documents. Among the services offered are specialized information about Pre-Hispanic and Colonial Archeology, consultancies, talks, conferences, specialized visits and tours of the Valle de los Ingenios and the city, as well as cultural performances for the general public inside and outside the institution.
Trova House and Music House
Both places are ideal to listen to authentic Cuban music in Trinidad, while enjoying a good Canchánchara (delicious typical drink of the region) and the excellent company of the locals who also frequent them.
The Casa de la Trova was built in the 18th century. It was renovated in the 1970s for the cultural enjoyment of the people. At present it is a meeting point enjoyed by troubadours, tourists and the general population. It also has a priceless collection of decorative and ornamental treasures, as well as national and local musical recordings
The House of Music is an excellent Cultural Center, belonging to the Egrem (Company of Recordings and Musical Editions). Built in the eighteenth century, it became what it is today in 1997.
Trinidad: a must-see destination in Cuba
If you take into account that in this region of Cuba you can enjoy different leisure and recreation options, Trinidad is the destination that every visitor should know about.
Find more information in future articles about other attractions of the Museum City, its nature and its beaches.