Ignacio Agramonte, born in 1841 in Camaguey province, is a local hero and revolutionary leader from the first War of Independence with Spain. He has quite a track record, and is dubbed "the daredevil of the Wars of Independence" for his "attack now, think later" style involving taking on rows of enemies virtually unarmed, or jumping into battle when significantly outnumbered.
Agramonte is quite revered, and there are tons of things named after and built in his honor throughout Camaguey. If you want to take in some of Agramonte's history, these are some good opportunities:
Casa Natal de Ignacio Agramonte: You can look through all Agramonte's possessions that were collected by the Spanish, including lavish furniture, a piano, and some pretty personal stuff like watches and hankies. If you want to learn about Agramonte's history and accomplishments extensively, this is the place. We ran out of time and didn't visit here.
Parque Agramonte: This is a beautiful small square with lots of local presence that we took a walk through, but would have been a nice place to hang around for a while. Donned with a huge statue of Agramonte in the centre, it looks like a nice local place to chill out under the trees.
Museo Ignacio Agramonte: A lovely museum that features a nice garden, some 19th century furniture and Cuban fine art. There's actually nothing especially to do with Agramonte here.
La Iglesia de la Soledad is another beautiful, historic and centrally located church in Camaguey. Local revolutionary hero Ignacio Agramonte was both baptized and married there. You can see it from most of the downtown streets, sort of like a watchtower. The site has had a church on it since 1697, but the church that's there now was built in 1758. On the inside, the big colourful dome roof and a bunch of Baroque-style paintings provides a really cool contrast to the weathered exterior.
Like many other Cuban churches, this one also has a myth behind it... Story goes that a farmer or something was bringing his cart through the future church-site during a rainstorm and got himself stuck in the mud. The townspeople came out to help him push it out, and in the hustle and bustle a box fell onto the street and sprung open, revealing a statue of the Virgin!! Obviously that was a sign that the Virgin wanted a church to be built there, so they did.
Part of the intrigue of Camaguey is it's unique urban layout; if you have a day or two there, it's worth taking some time to just wander around. Designed to confuse and irritate pirates, the streets of Camaguey don't follow your typical grid pattern, but twist and turn into each other and open into different squares and plazas.
We started on the main streets Republica and Marti, and concentrated on the areas where they intersected, behind Plaza Maceo and the church Sagrado Corazon de Jesus. There are a lot of shady cobblestone squares, beautiful old churches, and the Parque Ignacio Agramonte is nearby as well.
The northern areas where we stayed like La Vigia and 9 de Abril neighbourhoods are more rustic, farming-type areas. The dirt roads are dotted with modest farms and the lush greenery in the area made for a welcome second side to Camaguey.
Most books and sites we read before leaving listed available Internet access at Islazul, and at the Hotel Colon. When we visited Camaguey in May 2007, neither of these places had Internet access anymore.
We did find Internet access at a large telecommunications store on Repulblica, a block or so from Hotel Colon on Republica e/ San Jose y San Martin. If I remember right, it was about 5.00 CUC an hour and the line-up was pretty long, so plan to spend a bit of time there.
Head through the centre of town one block off Maceo and you'll find La Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Merced. It's one of the most beautiful and my favorite of the old churches in Camaguey. If I remember, the story is that one day, back in the 17th century when the plaza was still under water, the people of the town started hearing some rumbles and screams from beneath the surface... a couple days later La Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Merced rose from the lake surrounded by a shining white aura.
Another story is that it was built in 1747 as a convent. Either way, the Art Deco architecture is beautiful and the church has some nice places to sit right around it. I've heard it's got a beautiful library on the inside too, but the church keeps some irregular hours so make sure to plan your visit if you want to go inside.
On the left the Casa Natal de Ignacio Agramonte - the famous patriot died in a battle in 1873 at the age of 32.
Actually a museum showing the original furniture and a lot of documents concerning the war of independance - some personal belongings like his 36 calibre Colt pistol and the piano of his wife Amalia Simone
Look at the balconary on the 3th floor.
A Balconery all over the lenght of the facade
It is always nice to stroll around in the streets
look at the colors - look at the architecture - so simpel, but so warm
A typical colonial house - The facade of many houses in Cuba has a large central door, cut in for easy access and one or two windows - slightly above ground floor.Most of them are recently renovated and painted in nice colors
A historical marketplace to visit !
Plaza San Juan de dios-known for it's well preserved Colonial architecture !
While visiting this place - there where some children - waiting for their parents - after working time !! They just put their legs out of the window with grills And my camera was ready !!
This square is commonly known as Plaza del Padro Ollalo in honour of a priest dedicating his life for the sick in the local hospital - located at this square
Plaza de los Trabajadores (square of the workers)- in the 19th century a forum of bull-fighting and circus.
It is also a touristic highlight - you can take here a bicycle-taxi and let you showw around.
This place is also dominated by a church called Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Merced
Those houses reminds me on my Trinidad trip.Excellent buildings - so colorful and typical colonial .
A joye for the eye and my Canon Eos 50E