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Generalities about the Plaza Mayor of Trinidad.
Surrounded by old residences, Trinidad’s Plaza Mayor looks today as it did in the mid-19th century when the recreation park was inaugurated between 1856 and 1857.
It is an obligatory place to visit if you are passing through Trinidad, it constitutes not only the center of many important buildings but also for its ca, so much so that one seems to be going back in time to colonial times and see the carriages and the ladies and black slaves in chains.
Since the idea of urbanizing the Villa began, this site was chosen to be the square.
The Old Parish Mayor is the one who gave it importance and that is why in its beginnings it was called Plaza de la Iglesia.
It is one of the most important places in the city, not only for its history, but for its location, all the streets lead to it, the mansions around it provoke the curiosity of visitors who come to this city also called the museum city of Cuba or the City stopped in time.
Here we propose a series of data and guide, for when you pass through the third Cuban colonial town, you have more information about the square and other important aspects.
Background of the Plaza Mayor of Trinidad
The main square of Trinidad has its antecedents in other similar ones that were built by the Spanish colonizers when they founded the villas. There are some similar ones in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This type of square was the center of the life of the settlers because in all cases, the church was next to it and little by little the wealthiest gentlemen built their mansions.
The previous names of the square
Since its inception, the square has had several names.
If we go back in time and review documents we will find that it was first called the Plaza de la Iglesia because it was conceived from the urbanization of the town and the construction of the church.
In the 19th century, houses began to appear around the square.
When you visit it, you will notice the poor urban layout of the time: the church was built on the side and many of the houses also on the side, with the main door facing the streets of the square.
It is said that a large cross was located in the square for a long time and that it was in 1812 when a statue of justice was erected, which is why they called it Plaza de la Constitución.
As soon as Spanish absolutism was reestablished, it was destroyed.
It is also known that Luis Brunet, one of the richest landowners of the time, managed to get the construction of a bust of Elizabeth II approved, but it is unknown if this project came to fruition.
With the advancement of the 19th century, the city reached a great development due to the sugar industry and the square acquired relevance. In 1857 it changed its name again, it was inaugurated as Plaza de Recreo or Plaza Serrano and there religious festivals and various processions were celebrated.
The authors of this project were Julio Sagebien y Delgado and Julio Batista.
Thus, it consecutively had other names. It was called Plaza Martí in 1925, due to a bust that was placed here for several years of the Apostle of Cuba and for a short time it has been known as Plaza Mayor, as many of the main colonial squares in the world are also known.
What is La Plaza Mayor de Trinidad like?
The plaza has four symmetrical rectangles, they are like small white trellised gardens with fine filigree, brought from Philadelphia and in all of them there are planted two royal palms, a symbol of the Cuban nation.
The rectangles delimit the interior and exterior spaces of the square.
The so-called Bremese faience distinguishes the rest of the area. In the center is the marble sculpture of the goddess Terpsichore, the muse of dance, but the welcome to the square is given by two cast iron greyhounds, brought from the Quinta de Don Justo Germán Cantero, an illustrious Trinitarian landowner and intellectual of the century XIX.
The two wells built in 1868 are preserved intact, as well as the decorative ceramic cups, the iron benches and the streetlights that illuminated the space.
Around the square, the most relevant sites
Once the details of the square are admired and we know its history, we stop to look at its surroundings.
Surrounding the square are several mansions that were once the home of the wealthiest families of the colonial era, today converted into city museums.
There is the Iglesia Mayor Santísima Trinidad, the most important building among all, with a history of collapse and reconstruction and that has suffered the attacks of cyclones and storms, the attacks of corsairs and pirates and is currently one of the largest and oldest churches from the country.
There is the Municipal Historical Museum, the Museum of Architecture, the Romantic Museum, located in the old Brunet Palace, one of the most important in the country, which exhibits the decoration and furniture of the wealthy families of the Trinitarian golden stage.
There is also the Ortiz Palace, today the Trinidad Art Gallery, and the San Francisco de Asís Convent.
Parish Church of the Holy Trinity
Its official name is Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad. It was initially built in the 17th century and two centuries later it was destroyed by a cyclone that also damaged a large number of buildings in the city.
There is a large Gothic revival altar dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy.
In the church there is a wooden statue representing Christ, The Lord of the True Cross, an object of particular respect in Trinidad.
The cross was destined for a church in Veracruz, Mexico, but the ship carrying the statue was pushed to Trinidad three times due to bad weather and could not make the trip, they abandoned part of their load and among all the pieces was the statue. Considered a sign, the figure has been in the church ever since.
The church has a neoclassical facade, and to the right of the church is a flight of steps leading to the Casa de la Música, a modern building, but built in a style similar to those nearby.
The construction of the current church at the end of the 19th century and was completed in 1892.
The House of Conspirators
To the left of the church, beyond the steps we find the House of the Conspirators.
One of its balconies overlooks the square and owes its name to the meeting place of the Cuban nationalist secret society La Rosa de Cuba.
Further down the street is Plazuela de la Trova, a square surrounded by 18th century houses, including the Casa de la Trova, with wooden bars and is now a venue for live music.
To the left of the Church of the Holy Trinity is also the Brunet Palace, a building built in 1812 by José Mariano Borrell y Padrón, head of the wealthy Borrell family.
Its name is taken from Count Nicolás de la Cruz Brunet y Muñoz, husband of Borrell’s daughter, who inherited the house upon Borrell’s death.
Currently there is the Romantic Museum, an institution that exhibits mostly objects that belonged to the family.
The house still retains the original marble floor, frescoes and neoclassical decor and has a baluster centerpiece in the courtyard. The original painted clay tiles are still visible in the kitchen.
Church and Convent of San Francisco
At the opposite end of Calle Hernández Echerri is the church and monastery of San Francisco, which today is the Museum of the Fight against Bandits.
The original construction dates from 1813, it was the Franciscan monks who made it. It became a parish church in 1848, and in 1895 it was a garrison for Spanish troops.
It fell into disuse, and in 1920 much of it was demolished, leaving only the bell tower and some neighboring buildings. Below the Church of San Francisco is the Plazuela del Jigüe, a small square where Bartolomé de Las Casas celebrated the first mass in Trinidad in 1514.
As curious facts we add that the El Jigüe restaurant is decorated with arcades and hand-painted tiles and that the 25-cent convertible coin shows the church tower seen from the corner of the Plaza Mayor in front.
Guamuhaya Archeology Museum
To the east of the Plaza Mayor is the Guamuhaya Archaeological Museum and offers the findings of the pre-Columbian museum, as well as items from the time of the Spanish conquest.
The word Guamuhaya is the name of the region in one of the languages of the indigenous Cubans.
The property was built in the 18th century and although the name of its first owner is not clear, it is known that the building was acquired in the 19th century by Antonio Padrón, who added a portico overlooking the square and extended the roof.
Alexander von Humboldt stayed with Padrón during his visit to Cuba, and his bust is displayed in the courtyard of the building.
House of the Sánchez Iznaga
Across the square from the Archaeological Museum is the House of the Sánchez Iznaga, today the Museum of Colonial Architecture.
It was originally two houses from the 18th century, both owned by the sugar barons of the Sánchez Iznaga family, also the owner of Manaca Iznaga, a possession in the Valle de los Ingenios.
The two houses, joined in the 19th century, display the typical grilled windows and shutters, with an elegant portico with thin columns and a fine wrought iron balustrade.
Inside, the museum explains the architectural history of Trinidad and details the history of construction in the colonial period.
House of Aldeman Ortiz
At the end of the plaza is the Casa de Aldeman Ortiz), built in 1809 by Ortiz de Zuniga, who later became mayor of Trinidad.
It is very much like the rest of the typical local houses, including the large front door with two small cut out doors, the bars that cover the large windows and a terracotta tile roof with large wooden supports. At present it is the Bodeguita del Medio de Trinidad.
Palacio Cantero – Municipal History Museum
The Palacio de Cantero is one of the largest houses that surround the Plaza Mayor.
It has a large entrance hall that opens onto a large corridor and the original frescoes remain in the plaster work of the main room, as well as a tower accessible from the patio that allows you to see the Plaza Mayor, the city of Trinidad and the sea .
It was built in 1828 by Don José Mariano Borrell y Padrón, one of the richest men in Trinidad and was inherited by his son José Mariano Borrell y Lemus, Marqués de Guaimaro and then bought in 1841 by María Monserrate Fernández de Lara y Borrell, niece of the former José Mariano.
Then in 1842, Pedro Iznaga’s widow, Maria Monserrate married the German Justo Cantero y Owar-Anderson, a local doctor and was the home of the Lara Cantero / Fernández family until the late 19th century. The house today is the Municipal History Museum.
Hotels near La Plaza Mayor de Trinidad
Hotel Iberostar Trinidad
The Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad is located just eight minutes from Trinidad’s Plaza Mayor.
It has 40 rooms with a maximum capacity for two adults, the rooms are luxury suites, with wooden furniture, a private furnished terrace, a full bathroom and Internet connection via Wi-Fi.
Bathrobes, minibar, safe, wake-up service, clothes iron, wine glasses, water bottles and toiletries are provided. There is also parking for vehicles, it is a public parking lot.
There is also a games room and billiards, à la carte menus in the restaurant and in the bar you can have drinks, cocktails and snacks. Packed lunches are prepared and laundry or housekeeping services are available.
There are numerous meeting and banquet rooms and smokers have their own area.
In the store you can buy souvenirs and souvenirs. At night there are entertainment activities.
The minimum price that we have found has been 159.27 euros, and the average price is 209.59 euros. You can pay your reservations by transfer, by card, through PayPal or through Bizum. In addition, some reservations are paid to the accommodation.
Hotel Las Cuevas
The Hotel Las Cuevas is located on the Santa Ana de Trinidad farm and belongs to the Cubanacán hotel group.
It has 109 rooms, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a room for events, a restaurant with buffet service, an à la carte restaurant, two bars and a wine cellar.
At the reception you can request various services, such as laundry, safe or car rental.
You can also go to the parking lot, the gift shop and the national and international telephone service. The establishment has an Internet connection.
Hotel Finca Maria Dolores
Located in a completely natural environment, it is an ideal place to enjoy direct contact with nature, observing endemic birds and peasant cultural traditions. It is also suggested for tour programs and family stays.
It has 64 rooms, of which 19 are double standard, 5 triples, 19 tropical bungalows and 1 double, all air-conditioned, with telephone, satellite television, safe, mini bar, balconies or terraces.
It also provides national and international telephone services, gift shop, entertainment, parking, taxi service and others not included such as Medical Services, Car Rental, Children’s Area, Childcare, Wedding services, Photos and videos, Laundry, Post Office, Pharmacy, Beauty Salon, Massages, Tourist Bus, Motorcycle and bicycle rental and Internet Cafe.
It has an a la carte restaurant specialized in Creole food, lobby bar, snack bar, pool bar, beach bar, piano bar, party room and cabaret.
Hotel Brisas Trinidad del Mar
Memories Trinidad del Mar – All Inclusive or Brisas Trinidad del Mar is a 4-star hotel located in front of the beach and offers a restaurant, bar and garden.
This hotel has a kids’ club, tour desk, outdoor pool, fitness center, 24-hour reception and evening entertainment program.
All rooms have a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, air conditioning and a wardrobe.
The property serves a daily buffet breakfast and has a sauna, terrace, tennis court, and car and bicycle rental services. There is a currency exchange service at the accommodation.
Hotel Club Amigo Costasur
It is a mid-range family hotel located on María Aguilar beach on the Ancón Peninsula, 12 km from Trinidad. It has 132 air-conditioned rooms with TV and private bathroom, of which 20 are bungalows with minibar.
It offers day and night entertainment and the practice of tennis, volleyball, soccer, board games and all kinds of water sports, it has a diving center.
The Club Amigo Ancón hotel is a simple and cozy hotel, located next to the Ancón beach, it is an ideal place to enjoy the sea and the mountains.
It has 279 perfectly equipped rooms, with complete bathroom and television, simple, comfortable and ideal for your vacations. It offers parking services, television, air conditioning, entertainment, internet, restaurant and gym.
Hotel Villa Los Helechos
The Hotel Villa Los Helechos is located in a Protected Area, with the category of Protected Natural Landscape management and offers accommodation services, buffet or à la carte meals, snacks, national and international drinks.
It offers Specialized Tourism or Nature programs, a paradise for nature lovers.
Hotel Villa Caburni
Located in the Sierra del Escambray, 800 meters above sea level, very close to the waterfall of the same name.
The Villa has 29 homes, 28 of them with 1 bedroom and 1 house with 4 bedrooms, all spacious and with private parking spaces.
Air conditioning, cable TV, Minibar, Private bathroom, Radio, Telephone, TV and Satellite TV are some of the services provided there.
They also have an à la carte restaurant, bar, cabaret, cafeteria, gym, laundry, massage parlor, parking, restaurant, shops, swimming pool, Taxi service and Tourism bureau.
Where to eat in Trinidad?
Once in Trinidad you can choose any of the sites that we will recommend, they have excellent services and good proposals. Almost all of them offer Cuban Creole food, and the main dish is chosen which is accompanied by rice, beans, salad, yuca, among others.
TABERNA OCHÚN YEMANYA. Piro Guinart 151B between Frank Pais and Jose Marti.
Small tavern serving well prepared traditional food with fresh products. It is not located in the very center of Trinidad, but it may be the best option.
Cheaper than the most central ones, they serve Old Clothes, lamb, chicken and others accompanied by the typical garnishes of Creole cuisine, they cost 5CUC and the lobster enchilada. Mojitos, piña coladas, and so on cost.
PALADAR LA MARINERA. C / Jovellanos 178. Casilda.
Located in the town of Casilda, 3 or 4 kilometers south of Trinidad. The house specialty is fish, shrimp and lobster. They serve excellent paella and the best fish in the whole area. It is eaten for about 12 CUC, but it has the disadvantage of not being in the town itself.
PALATE SUN AND SON, PALATE ARE ANANDA. Simon Bolivar 283 | btwn Frank País & José Martí
There are 2 palates managed by a married couple. Paladar y son is cheaper and with live traditional music in the patio where the food is served, the wife takes it.
In Son Ananda it is in a colonial house, it is expensive, elegant and you can eat for about 15CUC more or less. It is the husband who runs it.
SAN JOSÉ. 382 Maceo Street
It is one of the most popular in Trinidad, for its location and for the Creole food they serve. It is not expensive, the main dish with garnish and drink costs 10CUC.
THE CUBA DRAFTING. 463 Maceo Street
It serves Cuban food prepared in the European way. It is one of the best in Trinidad and is one of the most expensive in the city. The bathroom in this restaurant is a museum piece.
ZELLATO. Calle Fernando Hernández (Christ) 34
Considered the best ice cream shop in Trinidad. They serve ice cream with fruits from the island such as guava or banana. It is an artisan ice cream parlor and the product is creamy and very tasty.
EL DORADO. Piro Guinart (Boca) # 226
Creole food restaurant. With 10 CUC they will offer you the main dish with garnish, drink and dessert.
Lobster is the most requested dish and can be eaten on the patio.
CUBITA SANTANDER RESTAURANT. C / Gutiérrez 471. Between Desengaño and Rosario.
Restaurant with a clear Peruvian influence. There they have eaten from the Emir of Qatar to the current president of South Africa.
In its extensive menu unique to Cuba, the tasty sushi or some Peruvian varieties. It is the space of the international Chef Luis A González Lezcano.
Casa Villalba Restaurant
Located in front of the Palacio de Cantero, it is a good place to have breakfast before exploring the city. It has a terrace from which the tower of the aforementioned palace can be seen.
Cuba Libre Coffee
In the heart of Trinidad, another good option for breakfast is Café Cuba Libre, a few meters from La Escalinata, which is very lively at night.
El Divino Restaurant
In this restaurant you can eat very well for low prices, an excellent option.
Los Conspiradores Restaurant
It is located above the art gallery. It has a terrace divided into several areas, perfect for dining and enjoying live music from La Escalinata.
Prices range between 9 and 12 CUC. The portions are large, so if you are accompanied you can share the plate and it comes out less.
Other places to have fun
In addition to the history and the places to eat, it is also a city with a fairly active nightlife. If you stay one or several nights in Trinidad, we recommend the following sites.
Disco Ayala La Cueva
Located in a cave, it is an underground club, with unique decoration. If you are a lover of Latin urban music this is a good space.
House of Music
To enjoy live music with troubadours and traditional groups. Open-air place, located right next to the Plaza Mayor, drinks and snacks are offered.
It is a place highly sought after by locals and tourists.
Informal and very cozy place, there you can enjoy a glass of rum or Daiquirí or dance salsa.
Passing through Trinidad, when you visit the Plaza Mayor, you can also choose any of these places to have a good time in the company of your friends or partner.