Cuban cities each have their distinctive architecture and a remarkable cultural heritage that marks their different eras. The first villas were built based on the European trends of the time while taking into account the island’s tropical heat.
All this extraordinary inheritance, an indelible part of Cuba’s identity and culture, has become an important cultural heritage for the island: vibrant cities with their undying charm, places that stretch beyond the imagination, an era of columns, railings and arches, spaces that reveal stories and conquests.
Perhaps it was fate or perhaps the will of some king or governor keen for discoveries or glory, but either way the first seven settlements were founded quickly and consecutively. Each one was the result of the search for prosperous lands to satisfy the desire for fast and growing wealth. The cities were all similar at first, then developed in different directions that made each unique.
Thus they were all established at different locations across the island: Our Lady of Assumption of Baracoa (1512), San Salvador de Bayamo (1513), La Santísima Trinidad (1514), Sancti Spíritus (1514), Santa Maria del Puerto del Principe (1514), Santiago de Cuba (1515) and San Cristóbal de La Habana (1515) or simply as they are known today: Baracoa, Bayamo, Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus, Camaguey, Santia-go de Cuba and Havana.
These cities are jewels of a past rich in legacies, with secrets and stories on every colonial porch, tied to a fence or lying on a shingled roof. Many, through their buildings and inhabitants, also conserve parts of the seeds that grew into the singular country we are today.
Today, some of the these legendary cities’ historical centres are World Heritage sites, because of the origins of these well-preserved buildings and the history they reveal, through their powerful architecture that has helped protect them from pirate attacks and severe droughts.
And so this is Cuba, a chain of com-binations that has turned us into what we have been for so many centuries. The passionate traveler can explore every corner and will always find a vestige of what marks us as authentically Cuban: a flavour, a rhythm, a deity, a bow, a column, a phrase, a legend...
Cuba is present in its cities and each one beats with the provocative and spontaneous fusion of cultures that the island has in its blood.