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MatanzasThe Cuba Nobody Knows$
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Miguel A. Bretos

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813038100

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813038100.001.0001

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Tyre of the Western Seas

Tyre of the Western Seas

(p.87) 7 Tyre of the Western Seas

MIGUEL A. Bretos

University Press of Florida

Between 1800 and the 1880s, Matanzas experienced an impressive urban expansion. Growth was so obvious that a city booster suggested Matanzas be known as “the Tyre of the Western Seas” after the ancient Phoenician trading center. An immediate consequence of growth was an improved transportation system. A scheduled steamship route between Havana and Matanzas began in 1819, and a railroad passenger service was started in the 1840s. Important buildings went up, such as the Esteban (Sauto) Opera House (the work of Roman architect Daniele Dal'Allio, who also designed St. Peter the Apostle Church in the planned neighborhood of Versalles). Growth was not chaotic, but well regulated and mindful of a difficult topography (the city proper is crossed by the Yumuri and San Juan rivers). This chapter explores urban growth and change from a material perspective—how Matanzas was put together.

Keywords:   steamships, planned neighborhoods, theater, Sauto, Daniele Dal'Allio, rivers, Versalles

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