The town of Coro is on the north coast of Venezuela, 200 miles (320 km) west of Caracas and opposite Curacao and Aruba. Now a World Heritage site, it boasts some beautiful colonial buildings and shaded plazas. Spanish, Dutch, and local traditional influences are apparent in more than 600 historic buildings and churches. The city's cathedral, built in 1583, is one of the two oldest churches in Venezuela; its tower walls include gun slits for defence against pirate attacks. Other buildings of interest include the restored Convent of the Salcedas dating from 1620, the 18th century Arcaya House, the House of the Iron Windows (also 18th century) and the Bishop's House. The town is surrounded by sand dunes that are designated a national park.
Founded in 1527 it was originally called Santa Ana de Coriana after the local Coros Indians. The settlement was the site of the trading station of the German Welsers, who rented western Venezuela from the Spanish from 1528 and 1546. It was also the base for expeditions in search of Eldorado, the legendary country of gold.
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