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Camaguey is a city and municipality in central Cuba and is the nation's third largest city. It is the capital of the Camaguey Province. After almost continuous attacks from pirates the original city (founded as Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe around 1515 on the northern coast) was moved inland in 1528. The new city was built with a confusing lay-out of winding alleys that made it easier to defend it from any raiders. There are many blind alleys and forked streets that lead to squares of different sizes. There is only one exit from the city should pirates ever return and succeed in entering the city, the hope was that the local inhabitants would be able to entrap and kill them.In July 2008, the old town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The symbol of the city of Camaguey is the clay pot or tinajon, used to capture rain water to be used later, keeping it fresh.Clay pots are literally everywhere, some as small as a hand, some large enough for two people to stand up in, either as monuments or for real use. Local legend has it that if you drink water from a girl's personal tinajon, you will fall in love with the girl and never leave her.he main secondary education institutions are the University of Camaguey & the Instituto Pedagogico de Camaguey.Camaguey is the birthplace of Ignacio Agramonte (1841), an important figure of the Ten Years' War against Spain in 1868–1878.Agramonte drafted the first Cuban Constitution in 1869, and later, as a Major General, formed the fearsome Camaguey cavalry corps that had the Spaniards on the run. He died in combat on May 11, 1873; his body was burned in the city because the Spanish feared the rebels would attack the city to recover his body.

The outline of Ignacio Agramonte's horseback statue in the Park that bears his name is a symbol of Camaguey. It was set there in 1911, uncovered by his widow, Amalia Simoni.The old city layout resembles a real maze, with narrow, short streets always turning in a direction or another. After Henry Morgan burned the city in the 17th century, it was designed like a maze so attackers would find it hard to move around inside the city.

Camaguey is also the hometown of volleyball player Mireya Luis, Gertrudis Gomes de Avellanada (poet) Carlos J. Finlay (doctor and scientist), Silvestre de Balboa (1563–1649), Salvador Cisneros Betancourt, Marquez de Santa Lucia. Studied in Philadelphia, where became an Engineer; served as Mayor of Camaguey. Organizer of the Masonic Lodge "Tinima", and a signatory of the Guaimaro Constitution of 1869 and Jimaguayu of 1895. The park Casino Campestre is located on land donated by him to the City of Camaguey.

How to Reach

By Air

Camaguey has its own international airport, Ignacio Agramonte International Airport. Most tourists going or leaving to the Beach of Santa Lucia do so through the airport.

By Train

Camaguey is near the midpoint on the Havana to Santiago train line (about 10 hours from Havana). In addition to the daily overnight train running in both directions, there is also a daytime train running to/from Havana and Santa Clara on alternate days and another daytime train arriving from Santiago de Cuba on Thursdays and Sundays and returning on Mondays and Fridays.

Key places to visit
Museo Provincial Ignacio Agramonte, The church of La Soledad, Church of Our Lady of Mercy, Casino Campestre


Places to Visit

Museo Provincial Ignacio Agramonte

Is the historic center of the city, Camaguey's largest and most important museum houses the second-largest collection of paintings in Cuba, bettered only by the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana.The museum concentrates on Cuban fine arts (from the early 19th c. to contemporary works), but also packs in moderately interesting collections of natural history and archaeology. There is also a selection of decorative arts, including furnishings and porcelain from the colonial and Republican periods.The natural history rooms display native Cuban species, such as sharks, fish, and exotic fauna.These exhibits may be interesting for kids bored with Cuban history and fine art, but you've surely seen better.The building itself is worth a look around, as it features a handsome patio with a wealth of indigenous trees and tinajones (large ceramic pots).The museum was closed for much of 2008, but was due to be open by the time this guide went to print.

The church of La Soledad

Built in the years 1733 to 1736, stands majestically at the intersection of Republic Street (Queen) corner of Ignacio Agramonte (Estrada Palma), almost in front of the Plaza de la Soledad , known as the Square Gallo. Although the front develops a three-storey building, this does not prevent the tower is a benchmark for city dwellers and visitors. The building of the Historical Center that awarded the largest population of symbolic value.In the year 1697 was built at the north end of town - that marked the departure point for the dock at Jigüey - a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Solitude with a barrel of bricks and tiles 28 yards long, 8 wide and 7 high, the vestry at the side of the sanctuary and over a balcony room for the pastor and his servants, his two bells in timber, lacking tower. In 1701 was erected in the parish by the Bishop of Cuba Diego Evelino de Compostela. This church is one of the few buildings in Cuba and America in the eighteenth century, an outline of the center tower facade.

Church of Our Lady of Mercy

Located in the Plaza of the workers , stands the Church of Our Lady of Mercy, built in 1601 by monks of the order of Mercedarios a wood and thatched chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Altagracia, donated by John Greek, a resident of the village. It is surrounded by buildings from different centuries, most with more than one level, however, these buildings do not obstruct the visibility of the tower from different parts of the city. The stately facade is enhanced significantly to appear as visual closure of some streets and is slightly directed towards the Cathedral.A mid-seventeenth century was replaced by a modest building of solid walls was demolished in the period of Louis Unzaga government between 1744 and 1747 to begin building the current church, but in 1756 there was still a temporary temple wood-owned tower 35 meters high - not to be finished with three naves, brick walls and vaulted ceilings. By the mid eighteenth century the convent was a cloister with arcades of two levels, and the temple on the south side.

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