Monday, 11 June 2018

CUBA: Moron The City Of The Cock A Traditional Town In Cuba

Moron is the second largest town in Ciego de Avila province, Cuba. It is the nearest town to the tourist resorts on Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo.

Moron is a city and a municipality in Ciego de Avila Province in central Cuba. It is one of ten municipalities in the province, and is the second in importance and the oldest.

The municipality is located north of the city of Ciego de Avila, bordering the Bolivia municipality to the east, Chambas to the west, the Bay of Buena Vista and the Jardines del Rey to the north and the Ciro Redondo municipality to the south.

The terrain is mostly plain, with small hills to the north, made up of salt domes. The north shore is covered by marshes.

Moron has the largest natural water mirror in Cuba, Laguna de Leche, of 67.2 km2 (25.9 sq mi).

Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, two of the cays of Jardines del Rey archipellago is located north of Moron, across the Bay of Dogs or Bahia Perros.

Previously the municipality was much larger, being one of nine in the previous province of Camagüey.

In 1943, it was divided into the barrios of Coronel Hernandez, Chambas, Cupeyes, Este, Guadalupe, Mabuya, Marroqui, Oeste, Punta Alegre, Ranchuelo, Santa Gertrudis, Simón Reyes o Sandoval and Tamarindo.

The town of Moron began to grow in 1915 when the Trocha rail line was bought by Colonel Jose M. Tarafa as he began to assemble the Ferrocarriles del Norte railway line.

Moron was chosen as the line's headquarters. The railway's maintenance shops and a large central station became the central feature of the town.

Moron became the junction of a network of several branchlines and sugar lines which stimulated the expansions of sugar plantations and centralized sugar mills which previously were located mainly in the south and central part of Cuba.

In the 1960s a road was built through the marshland to the coast, and in the 1990s this was extended on a man-made causeway to Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, where a number of hotels were built.

Many of the hotel workers live in Moron and commute to work in specially provided buses.

The main economic activities are agriculture and tourism.

In 2004, the municipality of Moron had a population of 60,612. With a total area of 615 km2 (237 sq mi),it has a population density of 98.6/km2 (255/sq mi).

Moron railway station is an important junction point between the lines Santa Clara-Nuevitas, and Jucaro-Ciego de Avila-Moron.

The northern state highway, Circuito Norte (CN), passes through the city; and the main road from Ciego de Avila to Cayo Coco also skirts it.

Jardines del Rey Airport, located in Cayo Coco, serves the municipality. It replaces the former Cayo Coco Airport, demolished in 2002.

The first residents of Moron were Creoles from Sancti Spiritus, although among them were also said to be a group of Spanish sailors who, having navigated all around Cuba, had disembarked nearby and had decided to settle here.

They were from Andalusia, in Old Castile, Extremadura, Galicia and the Canary Islands, among other places.

In the first half of the 20th century, the archipelago and the nearby keys had attained little development.

The town of Moron, which started as a community survived on a basis of a limited, non-mechanized agricultural, and mostly sugar, production.

The settlement pattern that prevailed in the coastal areas and keys was that of squatters, people living in very poor, tach-roof, earth floor dwellings, usually not more than five houses together.

Making charcoal and fishing, in many cases both activities at the same time, were apparently the main economic activities on the keys and their surroundings.

Fishing was mostly done by using dinghies moved by sticks, oars, or small sails, which did not allow them to venture out of the key shelf.

These means were the ones used also to reach the mainland and to transport products out. In the settlements, livestock was mostly limited to a few animals.

Still standing at some places are remains of the stone fences that were used to confine the animal.
Moron City Museum
Living conditions here were in general very difficult, due mostly to the remoteness of the area and the lack of proper means of transportation.

Transportation consisted usually of a small sailboat that traveled back and forth once a month, and whose journey took many hours.

Reaching the mainland from Cayo Coco, for example, took around 10 hours, in addition to the risks that had to be run at sea.

During Cuba's 1st War of Independence in 1869, the town of Moron became the northern end of the line of forts, the Trocha from Jucaro to Moron built by the Spanish to contain Cuban rebels on the eastern end of the island.

The Trocha also included a railroad line to move troops and supplies, the first government railroad line in Cuba.

Moron, founded in 1543, is nicknamed the City of the Cock. In this Cuban city where the traditions are very strong were born in 1926 cakes called Torticas.

It is also known in particular for Laguna de Leche, La Redonda, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo. Guided visit.

When you go all over Cuba, that often provides you more surprises than a city traveller could expect.

Nevertheless, it is not a question of finding places from another world but precisely to not find differences between any Havanese suburb or a town or a village on the outskirts.

In Moron , for example, life is hectic like in the capital and, maybe, it benefits from the value added to have the sense of belonging of its inhabitants.

Situated in 36 kilometres north of the province of Ciego de Avila, it is especially famous by the statue of the Cock which guards its entrance and the Torticas (cakes) which, according to history, were made for the first time in 1926.

About the Cock, symbol par excellence of the town, there is thus 400 and more years of ancestral history based – as reported by the investigators – on an anecdote which occured in Moron de la Frontera, in Spain.

The tiresome phrase Like Moron’s featherless Cock that cackles comes from there. As this is a land of transculturization, that’s life, also we manage to have our Morón and our Cock.

Around the current sculpture a work made by Rita Longa and Armando Alonso, erected in May, 1982, stands a clock tower with amplification equipment to reproduce its crowing in the whole village, at six o’clock in the morning and at the same hour in the evening.

The position of the above-mentioned symbol created the funniest popular proverbs, however it is a motive for vanity for the Moronenses or Moroneros, who start in May their cultural week with a serenade dedicated to the star, sculpted in bronze.

The town is about to celebrate its 473 years, it was founded on May 24, 1543, however its urbanization began in the mid-18th century.

It is a source of anecdotes, traditions and legends, on the origin of its name, there are various speculative versions, though the word morón geographically represents a small mound of earth located on the edge of a forest.

The village is long and narrow, turbulent and cultural, night and funny. In its streets and in the main Tarafa Avenue, go countless bicycles, horse-drawn carriages and automobiles of any kind of makes.

The main highway from the Carretera Central in Ciego de Avila to Cayo Coco skirts the edge of the town.

There is a regular train service from Ciego de Avila, and occasional trains from further away. For example, once a day Santa Clara to Nuevitas.

Visit the Laguna de Leche or Lake of Milk - the largest natural lake in Cuba, lying on the northern edge of the town. At times the sediment in the water does make it appear milky.

There are a number of bars on its shores, one is built on stilts above the lake. Be aware: on monday everything is closed down there. You can walk there within less then two hours or take a taxi from Moron.

In Patria, on the eastern side of the town, the sugar mill has been converted to a museum. From there, a steam train that formerly hauled cane takes tourists to Rancho Palma.

Rancho Palma on the road running east of the town, is a country park. Nearby there is a crocodile farm.

The Hotel Moron, close to the centre of town, is part of the Islazul chain. In spring 2006 it was reported as being used for Operacion Milagro - eye-operations for people from all over the Caribbean.

There are many casas particulares in town.

One especially to recommend is La Casa de Carmen. It s very close to the bus/train station. if you leave the trainstation try to keep to your right and follow the road for aroud 100 meters after you passed the little parc.

Here you are. A lovely old woman who will take care of you. Like your own grany.

Despite its slightly removed position 35km north of Cuba's arterial Carretera Central, Moron remains an important travel nexus, thanks to its railway.

It acts as a viable base camp for people not enamored with resort-heaving Cayo Coco.


Tourism Observer
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