Its legendary crowded streets can make orientation difficult, but either way it will be a pleasant experience to get lost in the urban fabric. A heritage that constitutes one of the greatest riches of Hispanic architecture in Latin America, the privilege of being the birthplace of Ignacio Agramonte, Salvador Cisneros, Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda and Nicolás Guillén, and one of the most outstanding classical dance companies of the Western Hemisphere, Are some of its charms.
But undoubtedly the former town of Santa Maria del Puerto del Principe finds a particular stamp in its legends, handed down from generation to generation. Numerous are the narratives of real events transformed by the popular fantasy that nest in their cultural history.
The mythical Dolores Rodón, who died in 1863 because of one of the repeated smallpox epidemics that plagued those regions in the early years, was unknown if the imagination of the people had not taken care of making it imperishable.
Time after his death, in the cemetery of the city appeared a table of cedar painted of white and nailed to the earth on a common grave, with a tenth as an epitaph.
Insightful and moralizing, he kept the locals woven then and rumors surrounded him that when he deteriorated over time, someone mysteriously restored it. In 1881, the newspaper La Luz transcribed the verses:
Here Dolores RodónHe finished his careerThey see mortal and considerThe greatness of what they are,Pride and presumptionOpulence and power,Everything is goneBecause it only immortalizesThe evil that is savedAnd the good that can be done.
Equally repeated is the story of a white bird appeared among the flock of auras that flew over the hospital of San Lázaro, built by efforts of the Franciscan religious Father Valencia. Around this event the town created an ingenious history.
When the priest died, it was said that there was scarcity and hunger for the poor lepers in the hospital. The dusky auras walked the sanatorium waiting for the bodies of the starving patients, until an albino specimen of the species appeared. The next day all Port-au-Prince commented that the soul of Father Valencia, so often invoked in the midst of the sufferings of the lazarines, had come down to them.
And perhaps none is as widespread and popular as the claim that anyone who drinks tinajón water ends up falling in love with the city, with the possibility of dwelling in it forever or including it in their leisure travels.
These popular creations are only a tiny part of that halo of entelequia, magic and tradition that surrounds the fourth Cuban founding villa, legendary to its 503 years.
Author: Alejandro Moreno Lezcano
Source: Radio Nuevitas