Robaina's plantation

Monday 22 February 2016

Hacienda Cortina (Pinar del Rio Province) near San Diego de los Baños

                      Before the Revolution, Hacienda Cortina, which is now within what is called the Parque Nacional La Güira, was known to be one of the largest estates in the Pinar del Rio Province. José Manuel Cortina was the owner of the property and acquired the first parcel of land in 1906, 133 acres, later buying up neighboring properties between 1911-23. At the time he was a prominent lawyer & the diplomatic representative of Cuba in China and Japan. That is where he picked up the interest in Asian cultures that you can seen in some of the aspects in the architecture on the property. The main house that's surrounded by a tall stone wall was built in 1924, it almost seems like you're entering the property of a medieval castle. The house is surrounded by several parks of different styles with a river running close by where a bridge was built & a dam implanted to create a small lake for fishing. Gazebos, sculptures, ponds, benches and fountains are scattered around the enormous property making it a photographer's dream spot (there's so much to photograph). In 1972 a fire almost completely destroyed the main house leaving a shell of the original structure. The house once contained many valuable objects of art from the Orient. The land produced many products; fruits, vegetables, tobacco, livestock and horses as well as lumber from the various forests.
                  In 1959 the revolutionary government began the process of nationalization large estates & in September of the same year a government delegation headed by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro visited the farm. At the time the estate had 1800 horses and was more than 24 000 hectares in size. The farm was taken over by the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA).
                   La Guira park is one of the first properties converted ​​for tourism in the sixties, then they built a cafe and Motel Los Pinos, toward the rear of the estate that today is being renovated. It's all part of a master plan to refurbish the entire area to be used for tourism. We were the only people there that day, except for the people working on the other tourists. However, it was very evident that this was going to be used as a bus stop for group tours. It's located about an hour or so from Havana and you need to know where you're going in order to find it. Just a few kilometers west of San Diego de los Baños and close to the main highway that goes to Pinar del Rio city coming from Havana.

Hacienda Cortina
Parque Nacional La Guira
San Diego de los Banos, Pinar del Rio Province

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