Camagüey City Colonial Section Proclaimed World Heritage Site

The old colonial core of Camaguey city- -was officially proclaimed a World Heritage Site earlier this month

In a ceremony held at former Arms Square, currently Agramonte Park, Herman Van Hoff, UNESCO's representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, delivered the documents certifying the new status of the area as granted by the organization on July 7, 2008.

The ceremony was held on the day of the 495th anniversary of the founding of the then Village of Santa Maria del Puerto del Principe, one of the first settlements established by the Spaniards in the New World.

Van Hoff read a message from Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCO's director general. In the letter, Matsuura cites the reasons that led to the awarding and the commitments it entails to Cuba. Among the merits, he mentioned the abundance of narrow and winding streets making up an irregular road system that's unique on the island.

In conversation with the press, Van Hoof said the enormous efforts made by Cuba -amid difficult conditions- was an evidence of political will and continuity and persistence in the execution of projects. He pointed also to the existence in the country of nine of the 20 sites in the Caribbean to which his organization has conferred the category of World Heritage in the spheres of culture and nature.

Other attributes are the harmony and integration of diverse architectural designs, the large amount and high quality of religious buildings, the ancient use of clay in different products, the presence of abundant vegetation including in private homes' yards and the countless other cultural testimonies.

The ceremony on Monday evening included the unveiling of two sculptural plaques and an artistic gala that ended with fireworks extravaganza.

Present in the ceremony was Havana city historian Eusebio Leal, the vice president of the Cuban Parliament Jaime Crombet, and provincial authorities.

It was around Agramonte Park where the town began expanding in 1528.

Source: CNA