The emblematic Enramadas street
By Nina Pereira
Full of history and life, Enramadas Street was forged over centuries as one of the most emblematic avenues in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, and the entire country.
The road, currently pedestrianized, is the busiest in the city known as the most Caribbean of the island, with a constant coming and going of people who cross it or who stay in its many shops, banks, restaurants and cafes, hotels , theaters, museums, cinemas, nightclubs ...
In its usual bustle, as is typical of the city, there is also a lot of music, in which the contribution of the traditional oriental organ is not lacking, with melodies of yesteryear that spring from perforated cardboard ribbons that are rotated by means of a handle.
With about two and a half kilometers long and around five meters wide, Enramadas extends steeply from the bay of Santiago de Cuba, south of the city to the Santa Bárbara district, in the eastern sector.
Chroniclers remember that in its beginning there was only one path that led to the beach, called Camino de la Playa or del Mar, and later it was called San Luis. Its original layout was made in 1603 to connect the Hermitage of Santa Ana with the Cathedral, bordering the Fort of San Francisco, and it was paved in 1850.
It also received the name of Calle Ancha, first road through which the traditional Corpus Christi procession passed, a celebration for which the ground was covered with palm or coconut stalks, reason why it came to be called Enramadas.
The custom of carpeting the floor with branches was suspended in 1850 due to an accident that inflamed the leaves and led to a dangerous fire, but until today it is still known that way, although its official name is that of José Antonio Saco, prominent hero. of Cuban history. The installation of public lighting marked the boom of the urban artery, where, two years later, the first electric tram in the east of the country began to travel, running until 1952.
It flourished since then and has not stopped renewing itself, combining historical sites and new offerings of modernity, in a space that a poet from Santiago referred to as "Calle Enramada / greatest girlfriend of our city ...".