The unmatched Plaza del Carmen

Among the 12 squares and 18 small squares that integrate the historical center of the city of Camaguey, the Plaza del Carmen is one of its most picturesque places.

In its cobbled streets stand out the sculptural figures of the outstanding artist Martha Jimenez, made in marmoline, which recreate characters such as the former water seller, the newspaper reader, gossiping women and the couple in love.

The square is an open space, where pigeons flutter especially in the afternoons, a scene similar to that happening daily in the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis, in the Historic Center of Havana.

The emergence of the Plaza del Carmen is situated in the first decades of the nineteenth century and in its surroundings stands out a varied popular architecture, with irregular patios and simple and modest facades.

There, under the support of the Franciscan Father Valencia, one of the most important architectural complexes was built in Camaguey, made up of the women's hospital in 1823 (now occupied by the Martha Abreu Primary School), the Church of Nuestra Senora del Carmen in 1825 (unique of two towers in the city), and the Monastery of the Ursulines, inaugurated in 1829, dedicated to the teaching of girls.

In 1997 began the rescue of this Monastery, one of the most important colonial monuments of the Historic Center, in order to locate here the Office of the Historian of the City of Camaguey, which has contributed to the preservation of the architectural heritage and to exert a positive influence in the social environment of this peculiar place.

In areas of the square there is also a socio-cultural project, composed of a group of architects, engineers, sociologists and natural leaders of the community, which perpetuate the traditions of the place and contribute to the conservation of its heritage values.


Authors: Gilberto Rodriguez and Alina M. Lotti
Source: Trabajadores Newspaper