Cienfuegos in Cuba


Exploring the province

Cienfuegos in Cuba is  located in the center-south region of Cuba, the city of the same name and capital of the province, is recognized indistinctly as the Pearl of the South or the beautiful city of the sea, which has a peculiar tourist product, which highlights as fundamental elements of nautical potential.

The city conserves the main attraction in the historical center, set of buildings that maintain the traditional environment and the value of the constructions, because it has been able to integrate the old and the modern ones, forming an environmental unit that identifies it within the cities of the XIX Century, quality that has been taken into account by the international organisms to grant it the condition of Cultural Patrimony of the Humanity. The name used for its inhabitants is Cienfueguero.

This city, known as the Pearl of the South, is 245 km from the capital of the country Havana City and 658 km from Santiago de Cuba, the second most important city in Cuba, and has the second most important port in the country. In July 2005, the historic urban centre was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In Cienfuegos there is also a wide artistic movement, where many galleries stand out. One of them is the “Estudio Taller Marilyn Monroe”, located in Prado. The space shows the work of very talented young visual artists. The objective of these boys is to try to rescue the academy from its particularities. Cienfuegos owes its origin to the interest of the Spanish imperial authorities in developing new cities on the island.

Cienfuegos City Symbols & Emblems

Coat Of Arms

The Coat of Arms of Cienfuegos was designed by Don Agustin de Santa Cruz in 1831, and was adopted by our City Council on July 4, 1848 to be passed along to the town of Cienfuegos the right to use the coat of arms by the Royal Order of Isabel II of 2 last April.

Its rectangular and is divided into two blocks. At the top, on the blue field, appears in front of the Fernandina de Jagua Fortress. At the bottom, on the silver field, a Jagua Tree. Its  topped by a mural crown of five castles and two lateral branches of laurel. His motto: Faith, work and marriage, in Latin: Fides et Labor Unio, was adopted by the founders on the morning of April 22, 1819.

Cienfuegos Flag

The Cienfuegos Flag was designed, painted and embroidered by the first poet born in Cienfuegos, Clotilde del Carmen Rodriguez Lopez, for his friend Germain Houard Barrios, when the war Cienfuegos Yara seconded in February 1868. It consists of three vertical stripes, the first one blue, white and red second the third, as the French flag, recalling the Gallic origin of Fernandina de Jagua. But on this fund tricolor, has some symbols that distinguish them: In the blue, white equilateral cross recalls the Christian religion in the white, local and shield on the right are three red triangles with a white star in the center, hidden by two white that flank it.

Cienfuegos Anthem

Cienfuegos’s hymn was composed by Spanish musician José Mauri to mark the first anniversary of the founding of the city in 1819. This anthem was played for the first time the Banda Municipal de Cienfuegos on the night of April 9, 1919, in the evening Terra Theater, where it was sung by the Choir after de annex to Section Philharmonic Association and completed dependentimentialy returned to sing in the park at the monument of José Martí and then played in each of the events that took place during these festivities.

Fragments of the hymn (in spanish):

En tu escudo, Cienfuegos, aún brillan
las palabras de austera virtud
con el prócer del Jagua ha nimbado
tu blasón y la historia de luz.

Almas libres de América, ardiendo
en afanes de liberación
empapando de sangre la tierra,
libres fueron con sólo su unión.

Y así, noble, ubérrima y libre,
siempre ansiosa de paz y de amor,
por la clara visión de sus hombres
es Cienfuegos la amada del sol.

The Jagua Tree

Jagua was the native name of the region of Cienfuegos, and it is a very abundant indigenous tree centuries ago, but now scarce due to excessive deforestation. A lot of ripe fruit caressed by a ray of moonlight, came Jagua, according to Aboriginal myth. In the shield of Cienfuegos, also incorporated in the central belt of our flag, depicted a Jaguar in production.

According to the traditions of the Indians of Jagua, this was the deity who taught the arts of fishing, hunting and agriculture, and its name, according to historian Don Pablo L. Rousseau meant for those, beginning, source, origin or wealth.

According to Aboriginal mythology, was the daughter of Jagua Maroya, Luna, and his union with Caunao, second son of Hamao and Guanaroca, all women were born, while the latter bred to all men. These men and women gave rise to the formation of the inhabitants of Jagua.

On the 190 anniversary of the founding of the former Spanish colony rush the construction of the “Bosque La Jagua” an equal number of plants in the People’s Council Queen, near the Parque Jose Marti where there is an adult, among other things the rescue valor patrimonial, equity, embedded in cultural activities and scientific Cienfuegos.

Cienfuegos History

Fernandina de Jagua. Cienfuegos City Foundation

On January 1st 1819 Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Juan Luis Lorenzo De Clouet, proposed the foundation of the town to the governor of the island, Don José Cienfuegos. The proposal was accepted and officialized on March 9, 1819.

De Clouet reaches Jagua (area name given by the natives) with forty-six French settlers, Don Domingo Monjenié physician and surveyor Don Domingo Dubroct. They camped at an Indian village along the river Saladito, which had been abandoned by the Siboneyes. Part of these land had been acquired by the Marine Brigadier Don Honorato Bouyon.

The colonists settled in the abandoned huts and eight tents. They laid out several streets and also had already pointed out a park. On April 19 De Clouet received the visit of Agustín de Santa Cruz y de Castilla. This noble Cuban told to De Clouet the convenience of drawing the population in the peninsula of Majagua. This place owned by Agustín de Santa Cruz’s wife, Lady Antonia Guerrero. Convinced by indications from Santa Cruz, De Clouetaccepted the offer and decided to found the city where now stands.

On April 22, 1819, at sunrise, Don Luis De Clouet, adorned with their logos and surrounded by neighbors who heard him on his knees, took possession of the land on behalf of His Majesty the King of Spain and founded Fernandina de Jagua. In 1829 the name Fernandina de Jagua was replaced by Cienfuegos, in honor of the Captain General of the island, Don José Cienfuegos, Jovellanos. The City and the title of Villa is granted in 1829 and acquired city status in 1880. It is the capital of the province of the same name since 1976, with the new political-administrative division of the country.

Juan del Campo and Carreras, a Spanish merchant was designate Mayor of Cienfuegos city in 1881. He gave unflinching honesty test as administrator of the municipal property. Elias Ponvert y Malibran and his wife Luisa Terry, devoted their life to the activity and prosperty of the city. They always provided succor to the needed ones and never forget their religious and civic duties.

Mal Tiempo Battle

The Battle of Mal Tiempo (Bad Weather), began with the march of the invading column of Maceo and Gomez to enter the territory of Cienfuegos. This battle ranks as one of the most important actions taken by insurgent forces in the invasion to the West during the war of independence against Spanish colonialism. In about three hours to complete the action of Mal Tiempo, with great success to Cuban arms. The action was defined by one of the most significant machete charges and heroic featuring Maceo’s troops at the forefront, the center Gen. Maximo Gomez, Serafin Sanchez and followed up the rear, Brigadier Luis de Feria.

Mal Tiempo also served to dismantle the myth of the invulnerability of the Spanish table and demonstrate, once again, the irrevocable decision of Cubans to achieve at any price the independence of Cuba. The failure of the battle for the Spanish showed the negative influence of forced recruitment, manifesting in the lack of a common, mainly in the Canary number 42 Battalion.

This fatal Spanish defeat provided to the Cuban Independence Army a large booty consists of 150 Mauser rifles, 60 Remington, 6 boxes of ammunition, horses of the officers and troops, mules, equipment, kit and the flag and the documentation file, which could identify the column shattered. In that battle, the Liberation Army caused about 200 casualties on the Spanish army.  Independence forces only reported four deaths and as many wounded. We tested the military strategy of Generalissimo accurate Gomez and the courage and combat readiness of their soldiers.

This bout marks the end of the first stage of the invasion, kicking off a new strategy and tactics of the separatists, in moral and political issues was highly significant, because in the national context and reaffirmed the decision real possibility towards the West . At the local level possible to consolidate the territory’s independence movement, and was felt in the policy further harassment of the population by the Spanish Army.

September 5’s Armed Rebellion

At dawn on September 5, 1957, the revolutionary officers of the Navy commands and July 26 Movement attacked the Southern Naval District, in Cienfuegos, arrested the head of the base and other supporters of the Batista dictatorship and occupied the military installation.

The head of the revolutionary officers, Lt. San Román, harangued the sailors and told them of the need to join the revolutionary movement led by Fidel Castro to overthrow the bloody dictatorship that plagued the country. The vast majority of the lining of the District joined the uprising. Soon after, the militants began to arm the M-26-7 who attended and formed mixed platoons of sailors and civilians.

They quickly attack the main bastions of tyranny in the city. The Marine Police was captured by the revolutionaries without firing a shot. The National Police Station made some resistance, but also was taken. The captured weapons were distributed among the population and organized instructors group’s to teach them how to use it. In the early hours of the morning, the rebels and the people almost owned of the whole city. Right away they took the stations of the Maritime Police, the National Police, the City Hall and other important locations.

Although they failed to take the Rural Guard barracks, the soldiers were locked in there and the town was in rebel hands for 24 hours. Then the tyranny sent his troops to Cienfuegos that indiscriminately strafed and bombed neighborhoods, and left dozens of dead, wounded and maimed among the population. The most significant of this fact was precisely that the people took to the streets against the dictatorship. Although internally this action was a setback for the movement in Cienfuegos, which was almost neutralized since them. In general represented a victory for the struggle, for his tremendous national impact and the fact that for hours, was a free territory, the first of the  Revolution in the country.

The weapons seized were immediately distributed among the population that arrived in Cienfuegos place to join the uprising. Members of the Marine Police is not incorporated, including the chief, commander Luis Seijas Batet, were taken to Key in the truck of the District. As soon as people realized what was happening to the streets and calls for weapons to fight the dictatorship, which are quickly depleted.

The rebels occupied important buildings adjacent to the Parque Jose Marti, where the main activities take place that day, the revolutionaries could not reach the barracks of the Guardia Rural, located on the outskirts of the city, ruling the surprise factor, but however, the city is occupied and is in the hands of fighters July 26 Movement and sailors against the Batista dictatorship. By not supporting the movement produced in Havana, for the postponement conspirators agreed by officers in the capital city of Cienfuegos uprising was isolated and this allowed the forces of dictatorship from different provinces to move forces to repress the people.

Bay of Pigs Invasion

The Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, also known as Playa Girón Invasion or the Girón Battle was a military operation in which troops of Cuban exiles, trained, financed and directed by the CIA of the United States of America. They invaded Cuba in order to make a beachhead, form a provisional government and seek support from the OAS and the international community recognition.

The action ended in failure in less than 72 hours, was completely crushed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of Cuba. More than a hundred invaders were killed, and another 1,200 captured Cuban, along with significant military equipment.

April 15

Eight A-26 planes with Cuban flag on the fuselage, they bombed the military airfields at Ciudad Libertad, San Antonio de los Baños and the Antonio Maceo in Santiago de Cuba, with the result of 5 aircraft destroyed. The 2506 squad lost three bombers. This was the only bombing that was carried out as originally planned three others were canceled by Kennedy.

April 16

The day after the attack Fidel Castro, in an address to all the media, said the socialist and Marxist character of the Cuban Revolution. The Cuban army and the National Revolutionary Militias concentrated their troops for a possible invasion. The nascent State Security Department of the Cuban Revolution (known as G-2) conducted an extensive raid to detain a large number of potential opponents, which neutralized the counter numerous contacts, particularly in Havana.

April 17

The landing is 1200 members in Playa Giron and Playa Larga escorted by their vessels without much resistance. Hours later, the paratroopers are transported inland to expand the area invaded, with the mission to control the three main access roads to the site. In those first hours of the nascent aircraft revolutionary air force demolished seven aircraft B-26 and put out of combat ships Houston and Rio Escondido near Playa Larga, losing carrying weapons for ground forces.

The regular troops of Fidel Castro are coming gradually to the area, reinforcing the National Revolutionary Militia until then trying to repel the attack. At the end of the day the brigade ships assailant removed ashore definitely running out of equipment and ammunition, the Houston ran aground and sunk the Escondido River.

April 18

Counter starts with the massive use of artillery acquired in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. The battered forces of the mercenary brigade to control both access roads to the Bay of Pigs are forced to retreat to the San Blas. Troops at Playa Larga assailants to their plight by the lack of ammunition, they decide to abandon their positions and go to Playa Giron to join the other members of the brigade. The Cuban army takes control of Long Beach.

April 19

The assailants forces have to go back to San Blas Bay of Pigs, the remaining are soon surrounded and surrendered in the early hours of the morning. On the beach, a shortage of ammunition is compounded by lack of air support. The commander José Ramón Fernández (“Gallego”) and Fidel Castro moved to the area of conflict and participated in the recent actions, although the end of the fighting was determined.

Fidel Castro lobbied hard for the offense to be accelerated to avoid the 72 hours elapse needed the U.S. Government. UU. to recognize the “provisional government” attempts were made there, in order to prevent direct invasion of the U.S. Navy and Army. The victory became a huge support for Fidel Castro and the socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution, proclaimed earlier.

Main Sights in Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos in Cuba is one  of the most important tourist center in the south center of the country. Several hotels stand on the shores of beautiful beaches and an international airport has air services to numerous countries. As for the capital city, also known as “La Perla del Sur” (The Pearl of the South), it stands out for its French-inspired architectural layout and its good state of conservation, the result of constant work aimed at this end. Its historic center has been awarded by UNESCO as a “World Heritage Site”.

guanaroca lagoon

Guanaroca Lagoon

The Guanaroca Lagoon was formed by the river Arimao before flow into the Bay of Cienfuegos, it’s a protected area that includes the Laberintos de los Naturales, Cayo Ocampo and other minor keys inside the bay. Guanaroca has 3000 hectares, and its name is linked to a beautiful aboriginal legend from Cienfuegos.

The environment is extremely attractive due to the large populations of mangroves and wildlife refuges of indigenous avifauna. A colony of more than two hundred pink flamingos add the magic charm that accompany important archaeological sites of past Aboriginal and subsequent Spanish colonization. To the southeast of the beautiful Cienfuegos Bay, lies a brackish lagoon, where water pours from their Arimao river.

In the Laguna Guanaroca, Cienfuegos Bay, is set to mark a channel restoration project, which will help eliminate the high levels of sedimentation that exist in this wildlife refuge in the Caribbean region.

Cienfuegos is located in Wildlife Refuge “Laguna de Guanaroca-Yaguanabo-El Nicho” with an area of ??6,000 ha, containing among its greatest attractions about 65 plant species of high endemism, besides being flamingos nesting site and other seabirds.

It is estimated that in the lagoon there are over 170 varieties of birds, of the eight endemic, including the cartacuba highlight the tomeguin of pine and tocororo, which is the national bird of Cuba. It should be noted also that the lagoon is the largest shrimp farm in Cienfuegos and is the ideal place to observe pink flamingos, sea Corua, pelicans, ducks and Florida manatees.

Martin Infierno Cave

Martin Infierno Cave is located in the province of Cienfuegos, in the municipality of Cumanayagua and specifically in the area known as “El Colorado”. This cave and its surroundings are a natural site of incomparable charm, beauty and its attractive also for the potential of geographical sciences and caving. This cave treasures inside a sizable stalagmite, which has been corroborated by many experts as one of the largest in the world.

martin inferno cave

Is known of the existence of the Martín Infierno Cave since 1967, when it was first explored. The name of the cave comes from a legend of oral transmission, and it has a slave named Martin escaped from a ranch located in Trinidad. Another legend that might influence the recreation of the name, is one in which the locals allege that some of their wells could go to the Devil himself. At first there he began to call Martin Hell and then began to call themselves now known: Cueva Martín Infierno.

The cave is located about 650 meters above sea level is 793 meters long, and since entering the bottom has a gap or difference of 197 meters. The cave consists of large cavities inclined to develop in two directions NW-SE and NS. The training consists of caving spacious lounges that contain unique mineralogical formations in the country.

The cave is unique compound calcium formations in Cuba, called “gypsum flowers.” It also has a colony of bats such as “Butterfly”, which are the smallest in the world and for which the cave is a natural refuge irreplaceable. Vegetation where the cave is datifolio and evergreen tropical forests, both of type mountain river, the most abundant trees are cedar, mahogany, the seedbed, the Guásima, the Yagruma, the ocuje, Guarana and Royal Palm and others.

Knowledge of the existence of a considerable proportion stalagmite condition that a new expedition in 2005. Noting that the stalagmite researchers was the oldest of America and Cuba, and actually measured 67.2 meters. Researchers also corroborated the existence of two calcium deposition formations smaller, which measured 45 and 35 feet respectively, according to the Speleological Society of Cuba.

A Martín Infierno Cave can only be accessed through mountain trails. The very topography of geographical location determines that the roads are steep and dangerous slope. The entrances to the cave settlements are linked to “El Naranjo” by the North and “Colorado” by the South. For all that this important training hoards calcium were declared a National Monument in 1990. Martin Hell is now a reference site for scientific research, especially to learn and understand many aspects of the regional geological evolution and Cuba, debit this study the possibilities of offering their premises and calcium formations relatively untouched.

Local Monuments

  • Casa Natal de las Hermanas Giralt
  • Palacio de Valle
  • Antiguo Ingenio Carolina
  • Casa de los Leones
  • Vivienda de General Alemán No. 89
  • Cueva de Tanteo en Rodas
  • Cueva de Palo Liso o Santa Ana, en Congojas
  • Casa de vivienda del Antiguo Central Soledad
  • Antiguo Colegio Nuestra Señora de Monserrate
  • Palacio de Blanco

National Monuments

  • Cayo Loco
  • Cueva Martín Infierno
  • Lugar donde cayó Henry Reeve, en Yaguaramas
  • Parque Martí y su entorno
  • Batalla de Mal Tiempo
  • Jardín Botánico de Cienfuegos
  • Antiguo Cementerio de Reina
  • Castillo de Jagua
  • Centro Histórico Urbano de Cienfuegos
  • Zona residencial urbana de Punta Gorda

Places of Interest

  • La Bahía de Cienfuegos
  • La Cueva Martín Infierno
  • El Cementerio Tomás Acea
  • El Cementerio de Reina
  • El Jardín Botánico de Cienfuegos
  • La playa de Rancho Luna
  • El Casco Histórico
  • El Teatro Tomás Terry
  • El parque José Martí
  • Fortaleza de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua

Information about Cienfuegos in Cuba

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