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Cuban architecture

Sancti Spíritus City

Sancti Spiritus 11 Sancti Spíritus City

Sancti Spíritus City

Sancti Spiritus City was one of the original seven Cuban cities founded by the Adelantado Diego Velazquez de Cuéllar in 1514. Its colonial origins are evident in its buildings, though its capital status has given it a more commercial atmosphere. The variety of styles can be appreciated in buildings such as the Parroquial Mayor and the Museum of Colonial Art. Historically, Sancti Spíritus has been somewhat neglected by Spanish and more recent governments.

The Parroquial Mayor is located two blocks south of the town’s main square; it is a venerable towered church whose early 16th-century origins make it the country’s oldest. Nearby is the Museo de Arte Colonial (Colonial Art Museum), perhaps Sancti Spíritus’s most splendid colonial home is the city’s standout attraction. The opulent former palatial mansion of one of Cuba’s most elite families, the Valle Iznaga clan, who fled Cuba after Fidel’s Revolution, it became the property of the state in 1961. Ninety percent of what you see inside, from furniture to paintings, is original. Though the family obviously kept an impressive collection of Limoges porcelain, French gilded mirrors, Italian marble tables, and Baccarat crystal chandeliers here, it wasn’t their primary residence; the house was used mostly to host family members in transit, so the furnishings were rather eclectic.

Another interesting landmark in this city is one of Cuba’s older bridges, over Yayabo river. Built in 1815 with clay bricks it forms 5 arcs being the center one 9 meters tall. The entire bridge is only 85 meters long and was designed for pedestrians and carriages during Colonial Cuba but has resisted modern heavier traffic so far.

The city is located just a few miles from Presa Zaza, the island’s largest lake. Presa Zaza is a manmade lake from the dam on the river Río Zaza.

Places to go:

  • Nuestra Señora de la Caridad Church
  • Parroquial Mayor Del Sancti Spíritus Church
  • Colonial Art Museum
  • Tavern of the Plaza (Mesón de la Plaza)
  • Yayabo Bridge
  • The Main Theatre (Teatro Principal)


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