Cienfuegos, the so-called South Pearl , is the most important Cuban city founded in the 19 th century and due to its recent construction, it is the most modern and better designed of all the big Cuban cities. Most people believe that it is also the city with the greatest economic growth in the whole country during revolutionary years. After it was founded on 22 April 1819 by French settlers, this villa was given the name of Fernandina de Jagua as from 1829, and later became a city in 1880, when the population increase, the gradual development of its agricultural and industrial wealth and its important maritime port were taken into consideration for such denomination.
Since then, its neoclassic and eclectic buildings have become this city's pride. Their impressive harmony complements the straight and wide layout of the streets, thus enhancing the layout of this 19 th century architectural jewel. Its beautiful Prado promenade is the longest in the country and its bay extends over 88 sq km.
In 2005, the historic centre was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.