World Heritage #1202 – Cienfuegos

Last modified 30.10.2022 | Published 01.07.2003Cuba, North America, World Heritage Sites

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A role model in Latin American city planning, this Cuban town of Cienfuegos offers a number of beautiful buildings and palaces. 

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Official facts

  • Full title of site: Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos
  • Country: Cuba
  • Date of Inscription: 2005
  • Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 1202:

“The colonial town of Cienfuegos was founded in 1819 in the Spanish territory but was initially settled by immigrants of French origin. It became a trading place for sugar cane, tobacco and coffee. Situated on the Caribbean coast of southern-central Cuba at the heart of the country’s sugar cane, mango, tobacco and coffee production area, the town first developed in the neoclassical style. It later became more eclectic but retained a harmonious overall townscape. Among buildings of particular interest are the Government Palace (City Hall), San Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, the Ferrer Palace, the former lyceum, and some residential houses. Cienfuegos is the first, and an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble representing the new ideas of modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning as developed in Latin America from the 19th century.”

My visit

In 2003 I stayed outside Cienfuegos on a beach and went into town on a daytrip. It was really fascinating. I wrote this in my blog:

“We started strolling along a very long street towards Punta Gorda. Extremely hot and far to walk. Luckily a horse drawn cab came by with locals on it. We stepped up and stayed until the end stop. There were quite a few grand palaces on the way.

The finest was very Moorish inspired. For a dollar we had a drink on the roof-top terrace. Magnificent views. A band popped up and began playing Guantanamera and other tunes. My son was invited and joined the band. I bought a CD and everyone was happy.”

Read more about my visit.

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