Plaza Mayor, Trinidad, Cuba. My main point of reference while navigating the old city of Trinidad. After one day I already felt familiar with the citiy’s layout. The Plaza is the historic centre of the town and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.
I was walking the streets early in the morning when all tourists are sleeping, during the busiest times after the children were coming back from school and adults from work, early evenings when the youth occupied benches of the squares and late in the night when everyone was either in night club or bed.
The colonial houses of Trinidad have red terracotta tiled roofs supported out beyond the walls by wooden beams. The walls are pastel-colored with wood and plaster work details picked out in different colors to the brickwork. The large main door typically has a smaller entrance door cut into it. Majority of the houses has windows from floor to ceiling, opened to let the draft in. Through those you could observe the amazing insides of Cuban houses. The everyday life. Medical practice, children’s after school lectures, home businesses. I have even seen a birthday party with children and their parents singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in English.
The old town is separated from the rest of the city by gates guarded by police. Only locals transporting tourists can enter it by car. Any pedestrian can do it though. The cobblestone streets are narrow so walking is a more efficient way of transportation. When we entered old town in a taxi our first night we had no problems. We encountered them though wen after 20 minutes we wanted to leave. The policeman was very suspicious. We were leaving in only because they had no available spaces in our Casa and we were recommended another one outside the old town.
The last day of our stay we could see how the city changed in preparation for tourist season. Empty streets were now full of market stalls with traders recommending their goods. Music bands played popular Cuban music while crowds roamed packed streets. I’m glad it’s not the only sight I’ve seen in Trinidad. Buzz, crowds and music sweeping the streets have their charm but so does peace.
In Trinidad I found the Cuba I was looking for. With people playing domino on the streets, listening to music in front of their houses and dancing salsa in the streets.
Among the local customs noteworthy canary cages, suspended by the residents at the entrance to the warm colors painted houses, to ensure good luck and prosperity. Trinidad is famous in Cuba with producing lace. My friend brought back two tablecloths.
It was the first place where we saw salsa and African dance performances. I even got a dancing lesson from a couple of Cubans. It will be the subject of my next post. For now I just wanted to give you a sense how the city looks like, so enjoy the pictures.