Books about our cultural heritage are, fortunately, no longer a rarity.Regarding those assets and manifestations declared World Heritage, two of my editorials have carried out work that is undoubtedly commendable, although not as vast as we would have liked, due to economic limitations that we all know.
In the case of Ediciones Polymita, with photographs by Julio Larramendi, the following have been published:
- A gift from heaven: Trinidad de Cuba, by Alicia García Santana
- Alejandro de Humboldt National Park: nature and man (coordinated by Julio Begué-Quiala y Larramendi)
- Cienfuegos, the Pearl of Cuba, by various authors- Havana: image of a colonial city, by Zoila Lapique
- Havana: archaeological dimension of an inhabited space (coordinated by Roger Arrazcaeta)
- The Remedios Parrandas, by Erick González Bello and Juan Carlos Hernández
From Ediciones Boloña, of which I still feel part, I will only remember a small sample of their production, because otherwise I would have to reproduce practically their entire catalogue:
- Not to forget, four beautiful and irrefutable volumes, under the guidance of Eusebio Leal
- Havana, living city, by Raida Mara Suárez Portal
- The extensive list of books of the Master Plan, dedicated not only to Havana, but also to the network of heritage cities of Cuba, with multidisciplinary studies of invaluable usefulness
- The Havana House, by Madeline Menéndez
- The Disappeared Havana, by Francisco Bedoya
- Two exceptional bibliographic repertoires: Havana, port and city, and Trinidad de Cuba and its Valley of the Ingenios, by Siomara Sánchez
-Plus the enormous work of Emilio Roig, Eusebio Leal and his team of collaborators, collected in multiple supports and adhered to each stone and each wall in this part of the city.
So that affection does not make me unfair, I cite works from several Cuban publishers, such as, among others, the very useful volume National Monuments of the Republic of Cuba, from the National Heritage Council; Viñales, World Heritage Site, from the Center for Urban Studies of the Cujae Faculty of Architecture, Los Mogotes Project and Cri-Italia, to which are added the studies of the unforgettable Teté Linares on our peasant music; The conga, the rumba: columbia, yambú and guaguancó, published by Editorial Oriente, or Music in the French tumba societies, by Olavo Alén, Casa de las Américas Musicology Prize winner, published in 1986.
We do not intend, then, with The World Heritage in Cuba, to reveal something unknown, to which not enough attention has been devoted. The greatest virtue of this book is to bring together, now for the first time, all the natural spaces, monuments, urban centers, knowledge and Cuban manifestations that have deserved, up to the present, their registration as a World Heritage Site, and in a final section , the Tentative List 2023, with properties with the potential to be nominated in the future to the World Heritage List
Se trata de un volumen de seguro atractivo para quienes nos visitan buscando algo más ―somos mucho más― que sol y playa. Igualmente, será de enorme utilidad para quienes tenemos el deber de mantener viva y adecuadamente conservada esa herencia: es decir, todos los cubanos. Por ello su posibilidad de constituirse en herramienta para diseñar el programa de asignaturas como Educación Cívica, Historia de Cuba o El Mundo en que Vivimos, impartidas en la enseñanza primaria, etapa idónea para inculcar el respeto al patrimonio, sustantivo que, no por azar, comparte etimología con patria.
The pages of this edition shared between the National Heritage Council and Polymita Editions - with the significant collaboration of the Ebrahimi Family Foundation, through Mrs. Mary Wilkie Ebrahimi, and the tour operator company Fly for Vacations and Arianne Gorgas, its director for Spain and Portugal―, pay tribute to the memory of Marta Arjona; with it, also, the many Cubans who have dedicated talents and efforts to defend, restore, conserve, interpret or transmit our heritage values. They are not inspired by vulgar didacticism, and, consequently, boring: all of us who participated in their preparation were motivated by the desire to explain and move through beauty, hence the eloquence of the images and the effectiveness of the design. take a leading role.
This involved difficulties such as unraveling the layout and architectural wealth of Havana and its system of fortifications, Trinidad and its Valley of the Ingenios, Cienfuegos or Camagüey in a limited number of pages, or photographing something as intangible as the knowledge of the masters of the Cuban light rum; not festive or ritual consumption, nor the multicolored cocktails, but that: knowledge.
It was an exercise in synthesis for the specialists who had to limit their essays to a number of words that always seemed few to them; make them accessible to the “layman” reader, and also inspire and create awareness. Also for the photographer Julio Larramendi, eternally in love with our nature, our architecture and our people, compelled to determine which of his much-loved daughter photos would be left out, and for the designer Jorgito Méndez, forced to curb enthusiasms ―including his own― in in order to organize the coherent rhythm of text and image, achieve moments of visual climax and relaxed reading, and guarantee the smooth coexistence of Humboldt Park, Morro Santiago and the Cuban point, to cite just one example. All this under the implacable gaze of Nilson Acosta.
The result – I think it is a happy one, but the recommendation comes very close – is the book that we are submitting for your consideration, carefully printed and finished by Egondi Artes Gráficas. It was edited in the middle of the pandemic, violating distancing rules more than once, with two masks on and hands skinned from so much alcohol, but “loving” each page, Chico Buarque would say, as if it were the last. I hope we have been able to transmit the aura of excitement that enveloped us all during those happy days, it is true, despite so many collective fears and uncertainties.