The city of Camagüey, the fourth
villa founded by the Spanish in Cuba, is celebrating
its 500th birthday. Spectacular cultural
events, ceremonies, expositions, arts and crafts
fairs, as well as the traditional Virgin of
Candelaria procession, have all been part of the
festivities which will continue through February 7.
original villa named Santa María del Puerto del
Príncipe, 570 kilometers east of Havana, was founded
February 2, 1514 and designated a World Heritage
Site in 2008.
The renovated city, dressed up for
the occasion, inaugurated the celebration with a
traditional Flag Ceremony in Agramonte Park.
From the balconies of City Hall,
which has functioned as the municipality’s
headquarters for more than 200 years, the
proclamation establishing guidelines for the
festivities was read, a tradition dating back to the
Spanish colonial era.
The inaugural parade departed from
this location, featuring musical groups and dance
companies - as well as classic cars, motorcycles and
bicycles in a veritable museum on wheels - and
proceeded to the urban park Casino Campestre, the
largest of its kind in Cuba.
procession dedicated to the city’s patron saint, the
Virgin of Candelaria, was also held in the area of
the Metropolitan Cathedral, recently designated a
minor basilica by Pope Francisco.
The first day of the celebration
ended with a gala event which included performances
by some 800 artists.
As part of the commemoration, the
city hosted Cuba’s 8th International City
Management Symposium and a special session of the
People’s Power Municipal Assembly was held in the
Plaza de San Juan de Dios, an architectural jewel
constructed in the 18th century.