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Santa Ana de Coro


Coro (also known as Santa Ana de Coro) is the capital of Falcon State and the oldest city in the west of Venezuela.

History

The city was founded on July 26, 1527 by Spanish colonists. The name "Coro" is believed to be an indigenous word meaning "wind".

The city had a turbulent history in colonial times and suffered a number of attacks. Within a few years of the city's foundation it was a base for a German attempt to colonise South America. Charles V had ceded control of the area to German banking interests, but it reverted to Spain. In 1806 Coro was briefly taken by Francisco de Miranda, who was fighting for the independence of Latin America from the Spanish, and Coro's port of La Vela was the first place in Venezuela where the country's tricolour flag was raised.

World Heritage Site

Since the 1950s Coro has been conserved as a national monument, and in 1993 Coro and its port were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. However, in 2005 Coro was inscribed in the List of World Heritage Sites in danger (see section on threats to Coro below).

From historic, colonial architecture to unique natural scenery, Coro presents a diverse set of tourist attractions. On its northeast border, the city blends into Los Medanos de Coro, extensive sand dunes that form the only desert in Venezuela. The dunes are alongside the road between the colonial zones of Coro and its port La Vela which are about five miles apart.

The World Heritage Site conserves an urban landscape of typically 18th and 19th century appearance with cobbled streets and hundreds of historic and traditional buildings. Some buildings reflect the Spanish "Mudejar" (ie Islamic) style, others reflect the cultural influence of Holland via its colony of Curacao. There are interesting churches and an old Jewish cemetery. Other colonial towns in Venezuela tend not to have conserved their heritage so well, and in any case the cross-cultural influences of Coro are probably unique.

Surrounding area

Traveling one hour north, the tourist will find world-famous beaches for windsurfing in the Paraguana Peninsula. One hour south, La Sierra de Coro presents small towns with a more temperate climate and views of the city. On clear days, visitors will be able to see the medanos (dunes) and behind them the Paraguana Peninsula with its Cerro Santa Ana. Driving west, tourists can also visit Urumaco, an important fossil site.

Economy

The economy in Coro is highly dependent on state government expenditure. Retail commercial activity, civil construction and professional services are the principal activities of the city economy.

Threats to Coro

Coro's traditional buildings are built of earth - adobe, or earth reinforced in a technique known as "bahareque". Such earthern structures are vulnerable. In particular, water is a potential threat to earthern buildings. Coro is normally protected from water damage by its arid climate.

Coro is currently in a state of deterioration due to two consecutive years of heavy rains in 2004 and 2005. This prompted UNESCO to place Coro and its Port on its List of World Heritage in Danger in 2005, on which it still remains today.

This rain damage is one factor in the current "at risk" status of Coro's World Heritage Site. Other factors relate to planning considerations which may be detrimental to the historic built environment.

The organization recommends that a new drainage system be constructed to prevent further water damage in the future and that measures be drafted to minimize the effects of an increasing number of tourists to the World Heritage Site.

See also

German colonisation of the Americas

External links

Coroweb

UNESCO World Heritage Centre - Coro and its Port

FallingRain Map - elevation = 30m

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Santa Ana de Coro


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