EL PUENTE YAYABO

The early development of the Village of the Holy Spirit at the end of the XVII century, favoured the construction of a bridge over the local Yayabo River. The new bridge would link the town with the road to the nearby village of Trinidad. It was built by master-masons Domingo Valverde and Blas Cabrera, and had five romantic-style monumental arcades which were unique in Cuba.

According to researches made by experts from the Provincial Heritage Center, the first stone for the construction of the bridge was laid in 1817. Donations of money and building materials were received since 1771 from the residents of the village. In 1819, Bishop Juan José Díaz de Espada y Fernánez de Landa himself donated 1 000 gold pesos.

On May 6th, 1831, the town administrator (síndico) announced the conclusion of the bridge. But right since then, its history was marked by a large amount of problems like leaks, and obstructions due to rises of the river. Thus, the original cobblestone floor was substituted by pavement in an attempt to solve the leak problem. Such work is said to have been concluded in 1901.

Nevertheless, according to official documents, in 1902 it was decided “to place the bricks that were missing on the bridge walls and sidewalks, to make repairs with good plaster, and to paint walls and pillars in white and green”. This is a curious information disclosed by researchers.

Necessary renovation actions were taken during the whole 20th century, particularly after the triumph of the Revolution, when patrimonial values began to be particularly taken care of. The truth is that the bridge has miraculously stood the test of time. Its longevity is often connected to the local myth that some of the  materials used were brought from Italy, or that  cow milk was added to the mortar when bonding the bricks and stones.

On February 21st, 1995, the bridge was declared National Monument.

(Photos: Vicente Brito and Reidel Gallo)

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