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The Yayabo Bridge, a colonial jewel that defies time

Published: 2016.08.01 - 17:02:53   /  /  Ruth Soto Falcón  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

The Yayabo Bridge, a colonial jewel that defies timeIn Sancti Spíritus or the villa of the Holy Spirit is a colonial architectural jewel, which remains strong as in the beginning. The beautiful bridge that stands on the banks of the Yayabo River is the oldest of Cuba, and its years of vitality have many legends about its solid construction.

The Yayabo Bridge is nearly two centuries and it was opened in 1831. This construction, together with the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor and the Teatro Principal, is one of the three symbols that identifies the province.

The myth of its construction...

The Yayabo Bridge has a height of 9 meters and its length is approximately 85 meters. Its constructive perfection dazzles not a few residents and foreign visitors who are enchanted with the beauty of its five vaulted arches, which have a marked Romanesque style, consisting of numerous mud bricks.

According to popular legend, the strength of the structure is due to the Spíritus cow milk and the blood of bull that was used to moisten the mixture of lime, sand and Italian cement, which was especially brought to build this architectural beauty.

However, a few years ago the legend was refuted by the research of civil engineers. After several years of study, the National Center for Conservation, Restoration and Museology indicated in a technical report, and after analyzing several samples, that no Italian cement had been used in its construction.

The reason for this statement was probably due to the name "Roman cement", which was widely used at that time and was made up of a combination of lime, sand and pozzolan. Pozzolan refers to volcanic rocks, bricks or tiles that are crushed to reduce them to a very fine powder.

Whether this legend is true or not, the truth is that the Yayabo Bridge is still there defying the passage of time. In the past, it endured the passage of quitrines and carriages; it is still solid today and supports heavy modern cars, because the Yayabo Bridge is both a symbol and the main way to communicate the beautiful city of Trinidad to the ports of Tayabacoa and Tunas Zaza.

The bridge over the Yayabo River earned the status of National Heritage of Cuba in 1995 not only for its solid construction, but also for its popular meaning. Many poets, musicians, painters and even lovers still have it as a source of inspiration to feed the soul.  (By Ruth Soto Falcón)

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