Coro and its Port

Coro and its Port

With its earthen constructions unique to the Caribbean, Coro is the only surviving example of a rich fusion of local traditions with Spanish Mudéjar and Dutch architectural techniques. One of the first colonial towns (founded in 1527), it has some 602 historic buildings.

Coro et son port

Construite dans un style de construction en terre unique aux Caraïbes, la ville est le seul exemple qui subsiste d'une synthèse réussie de traditions locales et de techniques architecturales mudéjares espagnoles et néerlandaises. L'une des premières villes coloniales, elle a été fondée en 1527 et possède quelque 602 bâtiments historiques.

كورو ومرفأها

تشكل هذه المدينة المبنية بالتراب حسب أسلوب فريد متّبع في جزر الكاريبي آخر نموذج عن خلاصة موفقة من التقاليد المحلية والتقنيات المعمارية المدجّنة الإسبانية والهولندية. وقد تأسست عام 1527 لتكون أولى المدن الاستعمارية وهي تحوي 602 بناء تاريخي.

source: UNESCO/ERI

科罗及其港口

科罗的建筑与加勒比地区的风格迥然不同,是当地西班牙和荷兰风格相交融唯一现存的例证。科罗是最早的殖民地之一,建于1527年,城内有602座历史建筑。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Город Коро и его порт

Город Коро, уникальный для стран Карибского бассейна, благодаря глинобитным постройкам представляет собой единственный сохранившийся пример сплава местных традиций с испанскими (в стиле мудехар) и голландскими архитектурными приемами. Это один из первых колониальных городов, основанный в 1527 г., где сохранилось 602 исторических здания.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Coro y su puerto

Con sus construcciones en tierra únicas en toda la región del Caribe, la ciudad de Coro es el único ejemplo subsistente de una fusión lograda de las técnicas y estilos arquitectónicos autóctonos, mudéjares españoles y holandeses. Fundada en 1577, fue una de las primeras ciudades coloniales de América y posee unos 600 edificios históricos.

source: UNESCO/ERI

コロとその港

source: NFUAJ

Coro en zijn haven

Coro werd gesticht in 1527 en is een historische stad uit de vroegste jaren van de Spaanse kolonisatie aan de Caribische kust van Zuid-Amerika. Voor de komst van de Spanjaarden, werd het gebied bewoond door Caquetios indianen, die het land irrigeerden via een groot kanaal vanuit de Cororivier. Coro is opmerkelijk omdat de aarden constructies in de stad - uniek voor het Caribische gebied - als enige helemaal intact zijn gebleven. Daarmee is het een voorbeeld van een vruchtbare fusie tussen lokale tradities met de Spaanse Mudejar-stijl en Nederlandse architectuur. De havenstad telt ongeveer 602 historische gebouwen.

Source: unesco.nl

  • English
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Dutch
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

Dating from the earliest years of Spanish colonisation of the Caribbean coast of South America, Coro and its Port with buildings of earthen construction in a rich fusion of local traditions and Spanish Mudéjar and Dutch architectural techniques, have maintained their original layout and urban landscape to a remarkable degree.  Located in the coast of Falcón state, west Venezuela, between the mountain range of Sierra de San Luis and the Parque Nacional de los Médanos de Coro (Coro Dunes National Park), the two urban areas cover 18.40 ha;  7.85 ha in Coro, and 10.55 ha in the Port of La Vela. . Established from 1527 the town’s domestic, monumental religious and civil buildings all employed earthen building techniques that are still in use today. Coro was the first Capital of the Captaincy General of Venezuela and the first Bishopric of Continental America established in 1531. Its Port of La Vela was the first South American town to achieve independence from Spain.

Criterion (iv)

Unlike other cities on the Caribbean Coast, the buildings of Coro and its Port are constructed with earthen architecture and domestic buildings show unique examples of traditional mud building techniques including  bahareque (a system using mud, timber and bamboo), adobe and tapia (rammed earth). These are building techniques that are still in use today that have been modified and adapted to social, climatic and environmental conditions as well as to local materials, resulting in a unique example of earthen architecture.

Criterion (v)

Coro is an outstanding example of a historic town, dating from the earliest years of Spanish colonization on the Caribbean coast of South America, which has conserved its original layout and early urban landscape to a remarkable degree.

The urban value of Coro is represented by a building style derived from a colonising process where strong Spanish and Mudéjar building and architectural character and an indigenous building tradition converged. Afterwards, from the second half of the 17th century, this style was influenced by a Dutch architectural pattern introduced through the neighbouring islands of Curaçao and Aruba.

Integrity

The original layout and early urban landcape of Coro and its Port continue to be maintained and much of its earthen architecture remains intactdespite the difficult challenges the property has faced as a consequence of its material fragility and drastic environmental changes.Not all the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property such as the Cathedral, the Plaza Bolivar, San Nicolas and San Gabriel churches and the Jewish Cemetery are included within its boundaries, which require extension. The property is vulnerable to the impact of inappropriate development within it due to the lack of urban controls and around it due to the lack of a regulated buffer zone.

Authenticity

Coro has experienced many vicissitudes since its foundation. Much of what has survived dates from the 17th century. Hence, a lot of conscious efforts have been made since then to maintain intact the urban checkerboard layout of the city and its uniqueness derived from the conservation of the extensive use of its earthen building system.[1]

Coro and its Port fully preserve its urban layout with irregular blocks characterized by its Spanish influence, which was organized based on its proximity to the indigenous irrigation channel. Its buildings maintain completely their spatial, structural and constructive conformation. Besides, earthen building techniques employed to erect all its buildings remain in use by a large number of active craftsmen. That is why the qualities of the site reflect the spirit and the sensitivity of its historical evolution. 

Protection and Management Requirements

The World Heritage site of Coro and its Port of La Vela is protected under the Law on Protection and Defence of the Cultural Heritage (1993) and by the declarations as a National Monument in 1960, 1977, 1984, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 2005.

Since the creation of the Presidential Commission for the Protection of Coro and La Vela in December 2003, actions have been defined and executed for a better management of the site. This Presidential Commission has completed and formalized the submission of the Integral Plan for the Conservation and Development of Coro y La Vela (Plincode)where the needs and guidelines of action to be implemented in the short, medium and long term were clearly defined.

Due to the unusual rains and subsequent damage to the cities of Coro and La Vela in late 2004 and early 2005, the world heritage site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2005. In view of this, emergency actions were undertaken to mitigate damage to architecture and public spaces. In February 2006, the Institute of Cultural Heritage signed the “Framework Agreement for Emergency Intervention in the area of Coro and its Port of La Vela”, with the Governmentof the State of Falcon, the Mayors of the Municipalities of Miranda (Coro) and Colina (La Vela), and the State-owned company Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), with the goal of coordinating efforts to address the needs of the built heritage of the World Heritage site with a contribution of 64,000,000 Bolivars which was equivalent to US$30,000,000 at that time. Actions were executed under the Plincode, by setting up a management unit named Technical Office for Emergency Attention (OTAE).

Members of the UNESCO/ICOMOS Joint Monitoring Mission of 2008 recognised the technical, administrative and economic efforts made by the Venezuelan State with regard to the critical conservation situation that has led to the inclusion of the site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. They also recognised the level of responsibility of the Venezuelan State in considering the recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee.

Likewise and in view of the national legislative changes with the creation and implementation of new laws, giving more participation to the social organizations such as community councils, the Plincode terms were revaluated and it was decided to include community councils into all decision-making bodies of the World Heritage area of Coro and the Port of La Vela. As a result, all community councils of Coro and La Vela signed the “Management Commitment for Protection, Conservation and Rehabilitation of areas declared World Heritage of Coro and its Port of La Vela and its Protected Areas”.

This instrument establishes strategies to protect preserve and revitalize areas declared heritage by defining aims, performance indicators, organizational conditions, benefits and obligations of the bodies, goals of the public administration and organized communities. It also defines the execution, faculties and commitments of the Institute of Cultural Heritage, as well as organizational and financial structure for the implementation of the management plan, among other aspects. It provides for an Office of Management Commitment, with a Board of Directors and a Technical Board.

The new management method (Management Commitment) with the active participation of community councils can represent a unique and valuable experience in managing heritage properties. This experience generates positive expectations, since action is focused on participatory and strategic planning aimed at preserving Outstanding Universal Values of Coro and its Port of La Vela.

The management plan aims to establish and implement actions within the framework of sustainable conservation of the city of Coro and its Port of La Vela given its significance in terms of architectonic, historic and construction features taking up the popular wisdom about traditional techniques and processes. These actions will be implemented along with heritage creators through the joint efforts of communities as the key players in decision-making, artisans who implement and have experience on construction, and national and local institutions, through their continuous support to the communities in managing the plan. This management plan focuses on urban, architectonic, heritage, economic, social and environmental issues.

Long Description

Coro is an outstanding example of a historic town, dating from the earliest years of Spanish colonization on the Caribbean coast of South America, which has conserved its original layout and early urban landscape to a remarkable degree. It is the only surviving example of a remarkable fusion of styles over time, and is also important for the large number of ecclesiastical buildings and ensembles that it contains. Although a number of the Spanish colonial settlements on this coast, such as Maracaibo, were originally primarily of earthen construction, Coro is the only one in which such structures have survived intact to the present day.

Santa Ana de Coro is the largest town with buildings of earthen construction in Venezuela, and one of the most important in the Caribbean region. Unlike other towns in this coast, even its public buildings are of earthen construction, not stone. In this, and in its plan, deriving from the towns of Andalusia and the Canary Islands of the 15th century, it exercised considerable influence over other settlements in the region.

The city of Coro was founded in 1527 by the expedition sent from Santo Domingo by Juan de Ampiés, factor of the Spanish Crown there. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the area was inhabited by Caquetios Indians, who irrigated the lands by means of a large channel from a dam on the Coro River, which explains the choice of site. The settlement acquired legal status with the creation of a municipal council in 1529.

The Christianization of the province also had its roots in Coro. In 1531 Pope Clement VII created the first bishopric in South America there. This resulted in the small town being elevated to the grade of city. In 1583 work began on the construction of the cathedral proper on the site of the first church. Unhappily, Coro was exposed to pirate raids by virtue of its position, and so in the early years of the 17th century the seat of the governor was transferred to Caracas, to be followed in 1637 by the bishopric. In 1681 the city was grievously damaged by a disastrous cyclone, which explains why the present-day town has a largely 18th-century appearance. Reconstruction was leisurely, but marked by the early introduction of roof tiles and the use of unbaked bricks: wealthier citizens raised their buildings to two storeys and embellished them with ornate facades.

In the historic centre of Coro there are three distinct sectors, corresponding with the official protection zones:

  • the official National Historical Monuments are concentrated in the historic centre;
  • the buildings in the zone of historical and artistic value are colonial, republican or traditional;
  • the zone of controlled architecture lies to the north, west and south of the previous zone. Its southern sector represents the city's expansion in the 19th century.

The Parque Nacional Médanos de Coro (Coro Dunes National Park) is made up of three zones: an alluvial plain, formed by the delta of the Mitare River and some smaller streams; an aeolian plain, constituted of three type of dunes; and a littoral plain with a belt of mangrove swamps.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The city of Santa Ana de Coro was founded in 1527 by the expedition sent from Santo Domingo by Juan de Ampies, factor of the Spanish Crown there. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, The area was inhabited by Caquetios Indians, who irrigated the land by means of a large channel from a dam on the Coro River, which explains the choice of site. The settlement acquired legal status with the creation of a municipal council in 1529.

The land between the Cabo de la Vela and Maracapana, in which Coro is situated, had been granted by the Spanish Crown to the Welser banking family of Augsburg, and the first governor of Coro was a German, Ambroise Alfinger. From Coro expeditions left to explore Lake Maracaibo, the Sierra de Perrija, the Venezuelan Llanos, and the Andean region between Colombia and Venezuela, whilst in the quest for Eldorado expeditions from Coro even reached the sources of the Orinoco. One of its governors, Nicolas de Federman, led a group across the Andes to be present at the foundation of Santa Fe de Bogota. The Welser-financed explorations made an important contribution to the opening up of the region before they were forced to give up their concession in 1556.

The Christianization of the province also had its roots in Coro. In 1531 Pope Clement VII created the first bishopric in South America there. This resulted in the small town being elevated to the grade of city. In 1583 work began on the site of the first church on the construction of the cathedral proper. However, Coro was exposed to pirate raids by virtue of its position, and so in the early years of the 17th century the seat of the governor was transferred to Caracas, to be followed in 1637 by the bishopric. The city survived, despite devastation by pirates in 1567, 1595, and 1659, maintaining trade relations the nearby Dutch colony of Cura9ao and other Spanish Caribbean cities. It also developed and consolidated agricultural activities in its hinterland, notably of sugar cane and cocoa.

The periodical pirate raids, allied with the disastrous cyclone of 1681, explain why the present-day town has a largely 18th century appearance. Reconstruction was leisurely, but marked by the early introduction of roof tiles and the use of unbaked bricks. Wealthier citizens raised their buildings to two storeys and embellished them with ornate facades.

A slave revolt in 1795 had a grave impact on the agricultural economy and consequently on the city itself. However, economic recovery resulted from the introduction of sheep farming and coffee growing. With this recovery, Coro•s political role increased, and it regained its earlier position as seat of a governorship in 1812. This new prosperity was to end with its virtual destruction during the War of Independence in 1821.

With the establishment of the Republic and Bolivar•s free immigration policy, a large foreign colony, mainly from the Dutch West Indies, settled in Coro, and it expanded in relative prosperity. The oil boom of the present century has had only a negative effect on the city, but it has benefited in that it has not suffered the fate of neighbouring cities such as Maracaibo or Barquisimeto in losing much of its architectural heritage.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation