The colonial town of Cienfuegos was founded in 1819 in
the Spanish territory but was initially settled by immigrants of French
origin. It became a trading place for sugar cane, tobacco and coffee.
Situated on the Caribbean coast of southern-central Cuba at the heart of
the country’s sugar cane, mango, tobacco and coffee production area,
the town first developed in the neoclassical style. It later became more
eclectic but retained a harmonious overall townscape. Among buildings
of particular interest are the Government Palace (City Hall), San
Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, the Ferrer Palace, the former lyceum, and
some residential houses. Cienfuegos is the first, and an outstanding
example of an architectural ensemble representing the new ideas of
modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning as developed in Latin
America from the 19th century.