Matanzas is the neoclassical city par excellence of Cuba. The relationship between its remarkable monuments and its great natural scenery is unique and relevant.
Without compromises with previous traditions, the Matanzas architecture of the 19th century represents “the new architecture” in the most complete sense of the word. In a very short period, Matanzas left behind the stage of the guano huts. The references for the construction of the “new architecture” were materialized early in emblematic buildings, built by a select group of architects, among which shone individuals from the relief of Julio Sagebien, José Ramón Cabrera, Bartolomé Borrell, Francisco Betancourt, José Borrell, Manuel Antonio de Carrerá and Daniel Dall'Aglio, among others.
These teachers of different nationalities worked in Matanzas and left testimonies of high architecture within the formal framework of Neoclassicism. Contributions from different cultural fields merged, according to the requirements of the climate, the availability of materials, economic conditions and, above all, the needs and aspirations of the Matanzas, in a fascinating process of criollization of foreign models. In that sense, without diminishing the importance of singular buildings, the true cultural significance of the architectural heritage of the city of Matanzas derives from the value of the urban complex as a whole, due to the unique and historical relationship established between the buildings, the Urban framework and natural environment.
At the end of the 19th century, Matanzas was the most modern and best built city in Cuba.