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Posted July 14, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Vacation

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In the central-eastern region of the largest Antillean Island lays the province of Ciego de Avila, a stronghold for beach tourism, with the additional attractions of its nature, culture and history.

In the said province is Jardines del Rey, considered the fastest-growing destination in Cuba’s leisure industry, in addition to many monuments that give a singular touch to the region’s tourist options.

One of those historic sites is the so-called Jcaro-Moron Road, which is considered one of the most important military monuments in the Caribbean and the largest Spanish fortification in Cuba and Latin America in the 19th century.

Its construction, from 1871 to 1872, had the well-precise goal of blocking the advance of the Cuban Liberation Army to the western part of the country, thus preventing the expansion of the war to those territories.

The origin of that military work dates from the time when General Blas Valmaseda de la Hera proposed the Ministry of Overseas of the Spanish Crown to build a fortified road from the port of Jcaro, on the south coast, to the town of Moron, on the northern part of the territory.

The 68-km (43-mile) road - similar to Ciego de Avila’s width - was a singular defensive project with a large network of facilities and fortifications that enabled the Spanish troops to move fast.

In the beginning, the fortification consisted of three levels, the first of which was patrolled by some 2,000 soldiers, while the second included some 60 forts, protected by many obstacles and defended by 200 soldiers each.

The third level consisted of several fortifications in nearby towns, as well as infantry columns that patrolled the region, a strategy that involved up to 10,000 Spanish soldiers.

However, the inefficacy of that “impregnable” fortification led the Spanish Crown to reinforce it in the late 19th century, when it already had 68 forts, 67 blockhouses and 401 outposts, in addition to barbwire fences and fosses protected by over 12,000 soldiers, and a railroad along the fortification to transport 26 pieces of artillery.

According to historians, the original objective of the monumental work was never achieved. The Jcaro-Moron Road was declared a National Monument in 1995, when one kilometer of that fortification was reconstructed keeping its original characteristics.

At present, travelers interested in learning about Cuba’s history can enjoy visiting some of the original forts, devastated by the passage of time and in ruins, and surrounded by sugarcane fields and sugar factories that ratify the province’s agricultural potential.

However, the imprint of history is ever present in Ciego de Avila, as a silent witness of a period when the development of military engineering was overcome by the Cuban people’s hopes for independence.

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