In the city, founded in 1527, building traditions of the Spanish Mudejar style merge with the Dutch Baroque. Cobblestones, churches and colored houses exude the colonial charm of yesteryear. Coro has been on the Red List of World Heritage since 2005.

Coro old town: facts

Official title: Historic center and port of Coro
Cultural monument: first colonial capital of Venezuela with the natural port La Vela and over 600 historical buildings, in Coro and others. Church of San Clemente, Church of San Nicolás de Bari, Convento de San Francisco, Casa de la Ventanas de Hierro and Casa de los Torres; in La Vela et al. the Casa de la Aduana, El Castilette and Monumento a la Bandera
Continent: America
Country: Venezuela, Falcón
Location: Coro, south of the Gulf of Coro and the isthmus of Médanos, northwest of Caracas
Appointment: 1993; on the list of endangered world heritage since 2005
Meaning: a successful combination of local building tradition with Spanish Mudejar style and Dutch baroque architecture

Old town of Coro: history

1527 Founding of the city as Santa Ana de Coro
08/24/1530 Imperial coronation of Charles V in Bologna
1531 Coro first bishopric established in South America
1567, 1595 and 1659 Privateer attacks on the city
1583 Completion of the cathedral designed as a fortress
3.08.1806 in La Vela a national flag flies for the first time on the South American continent
1826 Stay of the »freedom hero« Simên Bolívar
1859 Beginning of the five-year war of independence under the command of Juan Crisêstomo Falcên and Ezequiel Zamora
1891 Inauguration of the Armonia Theater
1959 Cathedral declared a national monument

Smuggled splendor

»It’s around here ain poor country, ain bare, naked, bestial people (…). Neither wine nor bread here, nor Flaisch then deer and dero vil, but not as big as in our countries, there are also tigers and leopards and Villerlay Gefigels. “The one who writes this is one of the first German conquistadores in South American Floor: Philipp von Hutten, an envoy from the Augsburg trading house Welser in Coro. In February 1535 he arrives in the village on Venezuela’s north coast founded by the Spaniard Juan de Ampiés. It’s windy and it’s hot.

The wealthy banking house Welser with branches all over Europe broke with silver, copper and tin and was a major buyer of East Indian spices, dyes and textiles, in other words: an extremely potent economic power. They were used by the Spanish King Charles V, who needed funds for his election as emperor, since the wars of conquest on the newly discovered subcontinent had emptied the royal caskets. According to physicscat, the Welser helped and received Venezuela in return. In a contract dated March 27, 1528 they were obliged to send 200 soldiers within one year to suppress armed Indian revolts in what is now Colombia and to build at least two settlements with 300 residents and three fortifications within three years. Provided with the offices of governor and the highest military commander, they were supposed to transfer only ten percent of the profits from the gold mines they found to the crown. But that was of little interest to the Augsburg merchants, as they wanted the gold of the New World for themselves. And Coro, called Neu-Augsburg at the time of the Welsers, was the ideal gateway to the »kingdom of the Dorado«, which was suspected to be in the neighboring Colombian highlands.

In the feverish search for the gold sites, the Wels villages in the interior of the country were plundered and the locals slaughtered. But they were denied “El Dorado”. After 18 years of suzerainty, the land was withdrawn from them for abuse of office – as one would say today. That bit of sheen that had only surrounded the wooden hut settlement of Coro on paper quickly disappeared: the first capital of the country and the first archiepiscopal seat in South America. The only sign of the early founding that survived was the Cruz de San Clemente, under which the first mass is said to have been read on November 23, 1528. It is now in a shrine built for this purpose on Calle Zamora.

If you stroll along this street, an arc of images of colorful colonial houses from the city’s heyday, the 17th and 18th centuries, unfolds. During this time, due to the poor infrastructure of the country, there were trade and smuggling connections not to the other sparse centers of Venezuela, but to the islands of the Netherlands Antilles off the coast: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

The design and splendor of the colors of the buildings, which have since been lavishly restored, also reveal this neighborhood, because it is not just Spanish colonial tastes, but Dutch tastes that one encounters. More often than the forged iron common in Spain, which was used to front windows, one comes across fancifully carved, delicate wooden grilles. The facades glow in lemon yellow and Tuscan red, sky blue and fir green, the roofs are covered with brick-red, air-dried clay shingles. Windows and portals accentuate gleaming white stucco pilasters, and the scallop motif shines particularly impressively above the gate of the Casa de las Ventanas de Hierro. The facade of the 17th century Casa del Sol is decorated with stone sun rosettes. The Casa del los Arcaya undoubtedly represents the Spanish colonial style with whitewashed walls, clapboard-covered balconies and a dark, heavy, elaborately carved wooden portal. Because of the numerous damage as a result of severe storms in 2004/05 and because of the neglect of the historical building fabric, the old town of Coro has been on the Red List of World Heritage in Danger since 2005.

Old Town of Coro (World Heritage)

Old Town of Coro (World Heritage)
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