The city of Camagüey
was founded in the 1520's as Santa María
del Puerto del Príncipe. Constant attacks
by corsairs and pirates forced its first dwellers
to move inland from the coast.
In 1528, they
finally settled in a site named after the
Indian chieftain Camagüey or Camagüebax,
on the central part of the province. A characteristic
feature of this city is the large number
of squares and parks, including San Juan
de Dios Square, built in the 18th cent.,
and Ignacio Agramonte Park, which used to
be the parade grounds in colonial times.
This Arms Square,
it is today presided by an equestrian brass
sculpture unveiled in 1912 of Camagüey
patriot Ignacio Agramontes, a top figure
in Cuba´s 1868 struggle for independence.
sober colonial architecture and a traditional
inclination for the arts have enriched the
spiritual and cultural life of the people
of Camagüey. Large earthenware jars,
used in the past and at present to store
rainwater in the patios of many houses,
are a distinguishing feature of the city.
Twenty kilometers of
beaches, secluded and well protected by
the long coral reef that runs north of
Cuba, the second largest in the world,
make Santa Lucía beach resort a
magnet for those loving diving, open-sea
fishing and other nautical sports.