Cienfuegos

 


Cienfuegos

On Cuba’s Caribbean side, Cienfuegos perches on the shores of Jagua Bay like a pearl sitting on an oyster shell. First settled by the French, who dubbed Cienfuegos “The Southern Pearl”, the city is the capital of Cienfuegos province.

In the early 19th century, wealthy Frenchman D'Clouet of Louisiana promoted this area to the French, who began to populate the region from Bordeaux among other places. Today, this “Franco-Cuban” province produces sugar, citrus fruits, cattle and coffee while developing its industrial side as well.

Places to visit

 

Well preserved French and indigenous architecture abounds in Cienfuegos. In the circular Martí Park, a granite compass marks the point where the first French villagers started building the city.

The Terry Theatre

Built in 1869, is a good example of eclectic Creole architecture. Its history and legends are linked to international stars of the stage.

La Reina Cemetery

In the old section of the city, is a relic of 19th century funeral art. It houses remarkable monuments and low reliefs.

Jagua Castle

And the Lady in Blue. This well preserved castle was built in 1795 to repel attacks from pirates and smugglers. The “Lady in Blue” apparently haunts the premises. Her ghost sports an elegant blue brocade dress and rattles her jewellery.

Beaches

In this region are to the east past Rancho Luna. This coastline has beautiful coral reefs, among them a structure called Notre Dame.

Cienfuegos Botanical Garden

Declared a National Monument, the Botanical Garden was founded in 1901 by Harvard University. Thousands of fascinating specimens, most of them unusual trees, call this garden home.

Beny Moré's birthplace

One of the most famous interpreters of Cuban music was born in Santa Isabel de las Lajas and lived there until the early 1960s. His town houses a Museum and the famous cabildo de los congos that organizes traditional festivities every year.

The world’s highest stalagmite

At the Martin Infierno Cave is 67 metres high. Access to the cave is from Yaguanabo Beach through the mountains east of Cienfuegos.

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