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Cienfuegos City

The Pearl of the South

Cienfuegos City Cienfuegos City is called "The Pearl of the South" because of the impressive beauty of its bay; because of its seductive city which provokes the wonder of all who know it, and because of that innate nobility which characterizes those born in Cienfuegos. The history of Cienfuegos possesses interesting antecedents and is rich in aborigine and Hispanic legends. Before the Spanish came to America, the zone was settled by indigenous people and was known as the Cacicazgo de Jagua.

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CienfuegosIn order to protect its magnificent bay from corsairs and pirates, who sloughed the Caribbean, the third most important fort was erected in 1745. It was called the castle of Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Jagua, situated right in the canyon of the entrance to the bay

The foundation of Cienfuegos occurred in 1819, when French colonists settled in it, calling it Fernandina de Jagua, in honor of King Ferdinand VII and because of its aborigine origin. A rosette in the José Martí Park serves as a reminder of the place where the founding took place, and which served as the center for the urban design/layout. This park, which was the ancient Arms Square, is ample and rich in monuments, from which protrudes the only existing Arch of Triumph of Cuba.

In its surroundings coexists, harmoniously, buildings from the end of the XIX century and the first half of the XX, in eclecticism dominated by neoclassic cannons. This historical center has been declared a National Monument for its exclusive patrimonial value.

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The Jose Martí Park communicates with a pedestrian walk known as the Cienfuegos Boulevard to the principal artery of the city, the Paseo del Prado. This is the longest street lined with trees in Cuba and leads the traveler to the Cienfuegarian Malecón. Further on, the residential zone and recreative area of Punta Gorda continues with nautical and traditional sport and marine clubs.

This peninsula which enters the bay and terminates in La Punta, has as well been declared a National Monument, because of its wooden large houses close to the sea, and other important buildings. Amongst the most important is the Palacio del Valle, an elegant eclectic mansion that combines the styles of Mudejar, Byzantine, Venetian, Gothic and Baroque.

The French influence is notable in many cultural traits and Cienfuguerian customs, particularly in architecture, where arcs, stained-glass windows and bars prevail and it is common to find palaces and mansions .The streets, of perfect design, are wide and straight, and give Cienfuegos, the flavor of being an enchanting city.

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