Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba


Maintaining the modern spirit of the Athens of Cuba

Gloria Machado León 24 noviembre, 2017

From its birth the city of Matanzas was marked by the desire of its conservation. When still in the city did not illuminate the flashes of a strong economy and this was a poor village of the eighteenth century, the Matanzas bet to maintain the urban layout with which the town had been born in 1693, “structure recognized today as the seventh wonder of the Cuban architecture of the XIX century “, according to the Conservative of the City, Leonel Pérez Orozco.

The fact of never modifying the modern canon that places it among the most beautiful demarcations of the country and one of those that best conserves its heritage values ​​within the Latin American context, becomes both a strength and a challenge.

In the middle of the complex restoration process in which it is immersed, as part of the actions of the Matanzas 325 Plan, aimed at its rehabilitation in view of the anniversary of its founding in the coming 2018, maintaining the Renaissance spirit whose light baptized the Athens of Cuba means the biggest challenge at present, said philologist Alicia García Santana, PhD in Art Sciences.

“Beware of modernizations, do not break it, do not modify it. When you have a treasure that has come to you thanks to history, circumstances or family inheritance you have to preserve it. To do new things we have the whole province and all of Cuba.

Foundation plan of the city of Matanzas, 1693, prepared by Juan Herrera y Sotomayor. Source: Room I, Palace of Junco Museum, Matanzas


Foundation plan of the city of Matanzas, 1693, prepared by Juan Herrera y Sotomayor. Source: Room I, Palace of Junco Museum, Matanzas

“We can not subtract originality to an exceptional typological and stylistic example in architecture and urbanism to insert what; Who dares to compete with this treasure? Due to bad practices it was built in the Calle del Medio between Santa Teresa and Ayuntamiento, the Variety store that competes with the traditional historical space. To me they forgive me but that is a crystal glass that has nothing to do with this wonderful city. “

The truth is that, for reasons of meager economies, consciences even more limited and unsuccessful, although always well-intentioned, interests, for too many years this city sailed through an astonishingly imperturbable gap until finally, a few months ago, some of the attempts and works in reconstruction.

However, the reality existing so far, given by the delay in the execution of projects that seem never to end and a depressed and silent cultural life, among other factors, have determined that the much needed variant of tourism in Matanzas does not develop. city, strategy that would contribute in the future to the economic solvency of the restoration actions of the historic center, National Monument since 2013.

We must qualify urban spaces with other types of proposals. For many years over Matanzas, investments in Varadero have been given priority and the city has been left without refunctioning.

“This process is not developed by will, but through a strategy with established priorities, plans, resources and schedules. It becomes even more complex because it has to take into account the problems and desires of the population. “

The specialist believes that the creation of the Office of the Conservator, on October 29th, 2014, is a decisive step in the ordering and orientation of the projects, their execution and scope and in order to unite wills to achieve the desired rehabilitation of the City of the Rivers and Bridges.

“I feel very optimistic because the first step, which took a lot of work to achieve, was the creation of the Office. Today it is made up of a team of capable professionals willing to give their lives for Matanzas.

“I believe that the union of all forces is essential, supporting conservation work in a city that has so many accumulated debts. It is understandable that everyone wants to see their problems solved, but sometimes that is not possible. All of us who live or work in a historic center have to contribute to its conservation.

“It is necessary to prepare, little by little, places and specific spaces to increase the tourist use of the city and, in that way, to enter resources for its rehabilitation. Nor can you think that everything will be ready in a few weeks. This is a long time work and many people, but it is achieved. “

Alicia García Santana, a fervent lover of heritage wealth from Matanzas, prepares a book with Ediciones Matanzas in which she explains the reasons that make it a unique city within the island. Matanzas, Cuba’s first modern city will be a gift to the Athens of Cuba on its 325th birthday.

“We are based on the analysis of regular urban models, until we reach Matanzas, which can be considered orthodox, classical, of academia. This city is within a high caliber urban category.

“Matanzas was the first created with the ideal of modernity and also highlights its subsequent history. It’s not just that it was drawn that way, it’s that even though the city was a village in the 18th century, it kept the layout and never modified it. “

The book reveals categorically the patrimonial wealth of the city, elements that distinguish it as one of the most outstanding in the Cuban and international context. Product of several years of research, Matanzas, the first modern city of Cuba, shows an excellent visuality with attractive designs that manage to capture the spirit of slaughter.

Original text by on Nov 24th, 2017


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