Cienfuegos, monument city
The city of Cienfuegos is an exceptional example in Spanish-American urbanism during the XIX century. Its elegant and perfect checker board like outline that extends throughout its urban perimeter constitutes an exceptional exponent of neoclassic culture. On top of the vast monumental richness of its public spaces as well as different neo style, eclectic and Art Deco buildings, all of which are generators of a constructive homogeneity that defines the high urban and architectural value of the whole. Cienfuegos transcends because of its elegant and modern unbroken façade lines in block like structures without porches, with the exception of the nonetheless valuable ones erected in its public squares and promenades.
The presence of public ranked spaces such as the Plaza de Armas (current Jose Marti Park), foundational core of the city and considered as the most beautiful in the country; the Paseo del Prado, spine of the architectural whole and its lively San Fernando boulevard constitute the main heartbeat and social interchange setting of the people of Cienfuegos. Well deserved attention is to be given to prompt buildings that emerge in their own light like myths; we are referring to Tomás Terry Theatre, the Cathedral, the Government Palace, the House of Lions, the Blanco Palace, the former Lyceum, the Customs, the two cemeteries, the García Palace of the Noceda and the Ferrer or the Unión hotel which in all distinguish the ensemble and integrate themselves to its constructive and environmental harmony. Great significance springs from the feast of oriel towers, domes, frontons and from its small palaces outlining the city dweller picture. All these elements are in all excellence its identity constructs that protrude in the extensive set up patrimony and distinguish the urban whole.
The city constitutes an unsurpassable combination of valuables closely linked to the sea, which is the lawful protagonist of its richness and its physical identity and at the same time it’s the spiritual representative of the people of Cienfuegos. That is the reason why nationally and internationally it is known and the Beautiful Seaside City and as the Pearl of the South. The bay that constantly harboured the most notorious corsairs and pirates of its time was baptized before the foundation of Cienfuegos as the Great Port of The Americas, soubriquet that acknowledges the excellent conditions of the pocket shaped bay that has been source of inspiration and wealth; a shell that opens itself up to the world with vast environmental, commercial and tourism potency.
The Historical Centre of Cienfuegos treasures the most valuable historic and cultural doings of its citizens and assembles the highest aspirations with regards to its care and attention. For many years it has been the target of systematic and arduous works of preservation and the rescue of its main buildings and public spaces, with the concept of saving not only a single building site but rather the integrity of the architectural whole, resulting in the blossoming of its spaces and environments through which the day to day resident or visitor traverse, constantly receiving the influx of a XIX century model city and absorbing the respect to it professed.
The result of these actions determined that in 1995 the city achieved the category of National Monument being the only one in the country founded in the referred century to attain it. Subsequently the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO approved by unanimity in its 29th annual reunion celebrated in Durban, South Africa on the 15th of July 2005 to grant the category of World Cultural Heritage to the Urban Historical Centre of Cienfuegos, being the city of Cienfuegos the first exceptional example of an architectural ensemble representative of the new ideas of modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning developed in Latin America in the XIX century.