The graceful Plaza Mayor lies at the heart of the original settlement. The park at its core is ringed with silver trellises, with shiny white wrought-iron benches beneath the shade of palms and hibiscus bowers. The plaza is adorned with small neoclassical statues, including two bronze greyhounds that would be at home in a Landseer painting.
On Plaza Mayor’s northeast corner is the modest Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad (Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.). The cathedral was rebuilt in 1894 on the spot where once stood the original parish church. Restored in 1996, it is more English than Spanish inside, with a Victorian-Gothic vaulted ceiling and altar carved from mahogany; there’s no baroque extravagance, although the carved statuary is intriguing, as is the 18th-century Cristo de la Vera Cruz (Christ of the True Cross).
On the northwest corner is Palacio Brunet, a beautifully preserved, two-story mansion dating from 1741 and housing the Museo Romántico (Calle Fernando Hernández Echerrí #52, esq. Calle Bolívar, tel. 041/99-4363, Tues.–Sun. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., entrance CUC2, cameras CUC2, videos CUC5). The dozen rooms are filled with intriguing artwork and fabulous antiques.
Note the solid carved-cedar ceiling, dating from 1770, and the mediopunto arches. Upstairs, step out onto the balcony to admire the view down over the square. The stunning wrought-iron bed is the only heirloom of the Brunet family that originates from the house.
During his investigative sojourn in Cuba in 1801, German explorer Alexander von Humboldt stayed here at the impressive Casa Padrón, on the southwest corner of the plaza, at the corner of Bolívar and Mártinez. It is slated to revert to its old function as the Museo de Arqueología y Ciencias Naturales, but don’t hold your breath.
On the east side of the square, in the Casa de los Sánchez Iznaga, is the Museo de Arquitectura Colonial (tel. 041/99-3208, Mon.–Thurs. and Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., CUC1) with displays and models relating to Trinidad’s architectural development.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition