Coro and its Port
Coro And Its Port
Cultural Venezuela (bolivarian Republic Of) Latin America And The Caribbean State Of Falcon

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.