Cuba’s colonial gem

Gringo the Polo Star

by Mike

One of many highlights from my recent trip to Cuba was the colonial city of Trinidad . It is a wonderful place just to wander around and explore the maze of cobbled streets that link lively plazas and local markets. When even this seemed a little too energetic, I’d order a take-away mojito from one of the numerous street vendors and sit on the church steps and people watch to my heart’s content!

Founded by Diego Velazquez in 1514 and declared a World Heritage Site in 1988, Trinidad truly feels like stepping back in time. Isolated from the rest of Cuba for many years, the city experienced little developed so kept much of its original charm and lay-out. Today, the city has been wonderfully restored and has the feeling of an open-air museum. Many of the town’s finest buildings are testimony to the wealth of landowners who made their money from the Sugar Mills in the surrounding valley. I found a visit to these Sugar Mills both interesting and poignant. Many of the mills have observation towers that afford excellent views over the fertile plains that were once the centre of the global sugar cane industry. Their purpose, however, was to supervise and watch over the slaves that worked the land and was a timely reminder of the pain and suffering that much of Trinidad’s wealth was built upon.

I found Cuba to be unique, fascinating and thought-provoking and there was no better example than this colonial gem of a city.