Cienfuegos is a major port on the southern coast of central Cuba, standing on a peninsula opposite the narrow entrance to the sheltered Bahía de Cienfuegos. It is an attractive city with interesting colonial buildings, wide streets, numerous parks and promenades. The Castillo de Jagua fortress was completed in 1745 at the entrance to the bay as protection against pirates. Buildings of note include La Catedral Purisma Concepcion (1868). Teatro Tomas (1889) and the Palacio de Fererr, now renamed the Casa de Cultura Benjamin with its fine corner tower.
The bay was visited by Christopher Columbus in 1494 but was actually founded in 1819 as Fernandina de Jagua by French colonists. Destroyed by a storm in 1825, the settlement was rebuilt and renamed.
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