Architecture in Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is settled in the bottom of the bay, in an undulated bay surrounded by a mountain range that forms a natural amphitheater. Since then, landscape and city were closely linked.
The colonial architecture of Santiago de Cuba was developed around the center; the downtown consists of buildings with ample balconies, tile roofs with Spanish and French influence. The use of the latter happened because of the strong influence produced after the arrival of immigrants from Saint-Domingue.
Santiago de Cuba was given a powerful defense system. This started with the construction of the first city fortress in 1538, the one we know today as Balcon de Velazquez. Between 1638 and 1700 the San Pedro de la Roca was built, with the fortified system in the entrance of the bay that includes the fort of La Estrella and La Santa Catalina. During the XVIII century a defensive system was built and included the forts of El Sardinero, Juragua, Juraguasito and the fortress of Someruelos.
During the XX century continues its expansion, generating a network of streets, alleys and staircases that, in its topographic adaptation, undulate provoking true natural viewpoints to the port and the surrounding natural landscape.
In the XX century, Santiago de Cuba extends to the peripheries and goes farther seeking better spaces and climate conditions. This is how residential neighborhoods, known for the beauty of its mansions, that take advantage of the urban spaces emerge. For instance, the Vista Alegre Neighborhood is one of the most elegant ones in Santiago de Cuba. It has over 100 years of culture and history, associated to the development of the local middle-class.