Architecture in Moa

Architecture in Moa . The architectural development of the Moa municipality is described


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  • 1 Brief review of Moa
  • 2 Social development of the municipality
  • 3 Some advances
  • 4 Political, economic and cultural panorama
  • 5 Beginnings of architecture
  • 6 The pre-revolutionary architecture in Moa
  • 7 Other constructions
  • 8 Something else
  • 9 Source

Brief Review of Moa

The municipality of Moa is located in the northeast of the province of Holguín , and is one of the fourteen municipalities in the region, it has an extension of 730 square kilometers. It limits to the east with the municipality of Baracoa , separated by the Jiguaní and Jaguaní rivers, on the south it limits with the municipality of Guantánamo with Yateras , at the head of the Toa river . On the east it limits with the municipality of Frank País and Sagua de Tánamo, from the Holguin province and to the north with the Strait of the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean, on a coastal strip to the mouth of the Jiguaní River to the east. Moa is the word that identifies the easternmost municipality in the province of Holguín, Cuba , which was founded in 1963and also to the main city, to the river of this municipality, to its most important mountainous system, as well as two keys or islets. Although the origin of this word is not explained in any text consulted, there is certainty that it arises from the Arahuaca language used by the Tainos and Subtains who inhabited most of the island upon the arrival of the Spanish. For some scholars there seems to be a direct relationship between the word Moa and the voice used by the Arahucans to designate water. In the Moa toponymy there are several words of Cuban aboriginal language. It is estimated that they were known in colonial times, Yamaniguey , Cupey , Yaguaneque , rivers such as Quesigua , Jaragua , Jiguaní, Yagrumaje among other Arahucan language sites.

Social development of the municipality

The decade of the 1930s in Moa witnessed the creation of conditions to begin to develop the mining and forestry industry. Exactly on November 7 , 1939 the sawmill was founded , the date for which the week of Moense culture, moments that give rise to the first important sources of economy, the foundation of some communities, the birth of the population and an incipient social infrastructure. At the end of 1956 the construction of the Nickel Factory begins moense, which has the Freeport Sulfur Company and its Nicaro Nickel Company subsidiary as an investor and the Frederick Snare Company as the executor of the works. The factory constitutes a great work that requires the work of thousands of workers, who at its peak reached six thousand, not only gave employment to the men of the region, but caused thousands of workers from other parts of the country will settle. In this stage from 1930 to 1958 , health, transport, education, culture and sport had very little development, being Moa an isolated neighborhood of Baracoa , it did not have any attention from the governments in power.

Some advances

In the area of ​​health, in 1955 two pharmacies were opened, but the medical assistance was very limited and the owners of the establishment were the ones who prescribed the sick, in 1957 the company that built the nickel factory opened a medical dispensary to the support base to care for sick or injured workers, but it did not serve the population. On the other hand, the transport was lousy, by practically inaccessible land, in 1938 an airstrip was built to receive small planes that were used by the owners and high officials, it was not until the 1940s when the Cubana de Aviación company began to provide services of a weekly trip and in1958 makes a daily flight but only for wealthy people. Although thousands of men from other parts of the country worked here, the bus line that offered services to the area was not enough and the Sagua – Moa – Baracoa road was difficult to access. The Moa educational system can be summarized as follows in the 58-59 academic year, in the entire territory there were only four schools with unique classrooms and a staff of one teacher, but in that year only those in Punta Gorda and Cayo Guan worked . At this stage the primary age population was 200 thousand children, while school enrollment did not exceed 120. In 1944the woodworkers especially from the sawmills built a Sports Club, where they offered parties with orchestras brought from Baracoa, they also created a baseball team where games of this sport were played, but until 1958 there was the game of interest to shear the unwary. Like education, sports, culture, it was also, an example is that in Cuba radio broadcasting began in 1922 and in 1958 the whole area was a zone of silence, very few people had receivers and Cuban radio stations they were not heard clearly. The same happened with television that since 1951 he was tuned in the main cities, but his signals did not reach this territory. At this stage of the pseudo republic, the written press was not received, nor was it possible to acquire a book because there were no places to trade. There were no cinemas either, the first rooms of the seventh art were opened in old mansions with films from the American West.

Political, economic and cultural panorama

After the triumph of the 1959 revolution, the political, economic and cultural panorama has a colossal turnaround, since 1960 the sources of employment have increased with the opening of telegraphic and postal services, food stores and recreation centers, the practice of sports, sectors of education and health, communal services, the construction of roads that served as a source of employment for those people who, up to now, have sustained their livelihood from prostitution, vices and games. In December 1972 , on a trip to the Soviet Union , Commander Fidel CastroIt signs an agreement for economic and scientific-technical collaboration with the government of that country that contemplates the development of the mining area on the north east coast. With the emergence of the Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara factory and the development of the Pedro Sotto Alba factory , mining became the main economic line coupled with this factor and thanks to other programs of the revolution, responsible for health, sports, education , culture, in Moa a vertiginous development is observed.

Early architecture

The first settlers of what is the city of Moa settled here in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and their homes were similar to that of the Indo-Cubans. Until the mid- 1930sMoa was almost uninhabited, only four or five families lived here in isolation; their homes were similar to those of the aborigines, although some had introduced walls of palm boards that carved with ax and machete, and their exterior areas already had generally open kitchen and dining rooms, latrines and bathrooms. From the end of the 1930s, with the creation and commissioning of a wooden sawmill and logging, the town of Moa was founded and its urban architecture was born, which passed through the neocolonial stage for different aspects: from an architecture similar to those created by the North American colonialists in the eastern north with plantation towns; the use of wood in construction; the use of waste from the sawmill on the outside of the trunks called costaneras; the typical urban typology of the North American west introduced from the decade of1950 with the arrival of the United States mining company and the urban growth that happened then with the creation of new neighborhoods or districts where the typical Cuban bohío is once again highlighted.

The pre-revolutionary architecture in Moa

The first known human settlement existed in what is today the municipality of Moa was Cañete. In the middle of the 19th century, a citizen who is believed to have come from the island of Santo Domingo named Gregorio Reynosa built a house on that site. He arrived with his wife, Bárbara Real, and raised his family there. Years later, other families settled near the place. more which built their houses using the same architecture as the Cuban aborigines with materials such as tables of palm, yagua, guano and others, but using the nail and not the vine. The residents of this site learned of the existence of a kind of Mambisa prefecture where salt was made from seawater in 1896. There are references that prove that in 1833 the Spanish government, through the Baracoa council, discovered in lands of the site known as the Gran Hacienda de Moa , a group of immigrants from the Canary Islands who had just arrived in Cuba, which they promised to build a town in the same place where the city of Moa is today, that town was named after the Captain General of the colonial government in Cuba General Domingo Vives . Although there is a map showing the location of the town of Vives, no documents or references have been found regarding whether buildings were actually built on that site, but the town of Vives was registered with the city of Baracoa. There are written and oral documents that prove that once the war started in 1895 for the independence of Cuba was ended and that it was cut short by American intervention, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries some war veterans and residents of Moa arrived in Moa. Moa and Sagua de Tánamo settled in that territory, but few of them in the place that today occupies the city of Moa. As is natural with these neighbors, the first constructions for houses arise in this place, and it is known that one of the first families established here was one with the last name Liranza from Sagua de Tánamo who builds his house in what is today the Reparto Joselillo. Later, the Gregorio Leyva family and their son Joselillo Leyva, who came from Baracoa, established their homes near that family. Between the years 1905 and 1906The North American company American Spanisch Iron carries out intense exploration and development work on the mineral deposits in the territory. Among the plans that were made then there is one that indicates the existence of the town of Vives in a place near the beach between the river or stream María and the Joselillo neighborhood, in the same plan only the existence of two houses that are located in what is the Joselillo neighborhood, which are supposed to be those of the Liranza and Joselillo Leyva families. This allows us to establish that in 1905 there were two houses in Moa and, according to oral testimonies, they were built with dirt floors, yagua walls or an ax-clad palm table, guano ceilings and exterior premises for kitchen and a spacious dining room without walls as well as a latrine of the so-called toilets and a bathroom with walls of yagua without a roof. From1900 and until 1937 , other families settled in the territory of Moa, those who lived in what is the city of Moa were those of the Leyva, the Liranza, and Sagú Montero. The youngest children marry between those families Leyva and Montero de Moa and La Cruz de Centeno . In the first decades of the 20th century, a fact about the development of architecture and constructions in Moa occurs, as it is the first time that cement and lime were used in the region.

Other constructions

The construction of the pier and the building was entrusted to a Spanish construction master by the name of Gutiérrez. For the execution of the pier, concrete or concrete with cement was used for the first time in Moaand the lime that was brought to Moa by means of a schooner and landed in barges. A concrete wall was built parallel to the coast, but it was not completed as the construction master became ill and that execution was cut short. On the other hand, a large, high-prop wooden room was built, which was the first building erected in Moa for commercial purposes or for a work center. That company failed in the business and left there the wooden building that was taken years later for other purposes, and a part of the pier wall that is still there and is the first place where cement was worked. Both in the rural part and in what would later become the city of Moa, the few residents built their houses using the resources of the timber forests, but they were not used, As the Spaniards did in some villas, the limestone for the production of lime and ashlar masonry, nor the clays for the mud walls and cujes. In the Moa buildings, the walls were made with yaguas or tourist boards made of hand-carved palms. Not calcareros materials were used in the floors, but the rammed lateritic earth itself. In some of the houses built in Moa up to1939 Precious woods such as mahogany , ebony , mites, guayacanes were used, but always put in the form of roundwood or rustic boards carved by hand. The doors with boards attached to the top. Silvano Leyva Montero, who was born in Moa in l902 and married here in 1925, offers a sample of the use of materials for the construction of houses in Moa at that stage . According to the account, he selected a site near Moa for his home, today the fishing district, in the place known as Silvano beach. He went to cut the wood at the site known as Caguasey on the east side of Moa Bay, there he cut some palms and from his logs he made the hand-carved boards for the walls, the guano for the ceiling and the hardwood logs for the forks. He transferred all that material in a boat to the beach where he was going to build his house and there he built it with a room, living room, kitchen and rustic latrine. He used nails purchased from a hardware store in Baracoa . That was the way the few neighbors built their houses. We can set the year 1939 as the year of the foundation of the town of Moa, which with its urban development, will become an industrial city 40 years later.

Anything else

A little less than 70 years after the emergence of this community, it can be verified that its architecture provides a varied and rich testimony that typifies the economic development that Moa has lived taking into account that it was one of the last regions of the country that suffered the attacks of the colonization and exploitation of its wealth by North American interests and that left us the transculturation that is also reflected in its architecture and urban conception. Between 1939 and 1952 , plantation architecture was introduced in Moa by the logging company led by two North American citizens and one Jamaican who prefer the urbanization of plantations in the southern United States., where this architecture was born in the great agricultural estates. From 1956 , with the construction of the modern nickel plantAnother architecture emerges based on the cement, block, concrete roof and facilities provided by the residential districts of small cities in the United States at that time. For the construction of the All-Wood Sawmill, a saw operated by the driving force of a tractor was used, and so, as the wood was produced in that improvised sawmill, the sawmill building was erected as soon as it entered Production the wood was processed with which the first houses built by the administration were built. However, many residents had already built their homes with resources at hand, especially in the area of La Playa where the pier was and in the area of Los Mangos.where those with the fewest resources went to settle. The logging company selected the opposite side of the small river from the site where the Aserrío was built, that is to say, in the western part of the river, as a settlement site for its senior officials; This is how the street that today is called Mario Muñoz Monroy was born , which extends up to near the coast with the name Ángel Romero Videaux . This is how, without a preconceived layout, the streets of the town begin to form. On the west side of the river in front of the sawmill, the streets that today are called Mario Muñoz, Antonio Briones Montoto and Mariana Grajales arise , in what was called the sawmill neighborhood. Ángel Romero Vidiaux street to the Guarda bridge what was called a neighborhoodLas Coloradas . The current Fito Maceo Street also known as the beach street with entrances to the coast and the pier in what was called the La Playa neighborhood; the two main streets of Los Mangos in what was called the Los Mangos neighborhood. In addition, what is Camilo Cienfuegos street from the sawmill on the east bank of the river to the pier site that had no construction until the 1950s . Naturally, the names we pointed out were given after the triumph of the Revolution.


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