In our tour of four provinces, the first ‘city’ we visited was Trinidad in the province of Sancti Spiritus, in central Cuba. Together with the nearby Valle de los Ingenios, it has been one of UNESCOs World Heritage sites since 1988. It is a cobbledstone town, a fairly well preserved Spanish colonial settlement of around 75,000. The center of town is the Plaza Mayor, an open-air museum of Spanish Colonial architecture. Dominating the square, and the town of brightly painted buildings, is the beautiful Santisima Trinidad Cathedral and Convento de San Francisco.
We arrived in Trinidad from our nearby hotel Ma Dolores with the last of the summer rains. This ancient town does not have anything like a drainage system and we were forced to hug the sides of buildings as we navigate the few square blocks up side streets to the historic plaza area.
Nevertheless, wherever you go in Cuba, when you reach the top, there are always lovely gardens in the square, like this one, Plaza Mayor, built in the 18th and 19th centuries. The town of Trinidad was home for wealthy landowners who made their fortunes trading sugar and slaves. The buildings, as you can see, have red terracotta tiled roofs and, in the center of the city, are well preserved. However, after slave trading ended in the mid-19 century and the sugar trade fell off, Trinidad slipped into neglect only to be ‘rediscovered in the 1950s. Today, while the major historical buildings are preserved, beyond the scope of tourists most of Trinidad is crumbling because of lack of investment and attention. Meanwhile…..
….morning, noon, and night…there is music to escort you to a nearby restaurant.
And if you are looking for RPCVS…well, you’ll find them packed around tables sharing drinks and telling tall tales of “When I was in ……..”