Coro, towards the western end of Venezuela’s coast, is not that far from Curacao as the seagull flies but sadly there is no ferry link between the countries. Instead, I flew to Caracas (where the airport is 25km from the city through the mountains) got a taxi to the bus station and, since it was now midday and the next direct coach to Coro departed at 8.30pm, took a much rattier but frequent service to the town of Valencia and then another on to Coro, arriving just about when the evening bus would have departed.
Another sixteenth century Spanish colonial city, Coro is unique in that it has earthen buildings that have survived from that period. The city is however on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger as many of these buildings were damaged by heavy rain in 2004-5.
South America’s first bishopric was located here, before being relocated to Caracas, along with the governorship of the province, in the seventeenth century. The moves were prompted by a series of pirate raids, the effects of which, alongside serious cyclone damage in 1681 meant that the city was largely rebuilt in the eighteenth century.
I had a certain amount of difficulty finding the historic centre, or at least being sure that that was where I was. Indeed I went back to my hostel and consulted a map of the listed zone on the UNESCO website which, after a lot of cross-referencing with Google maps, I had to conclude was not in fact a map of this town. I could be for the port, which is actually about 15km away, but as that is one of the few places on the planet that Google’s omnipotence has failed to map, I can’t be sure.
Wikipedia was more helpful and a second trip into town found me some of the more frequently cited old buildings. Sadly the one with the most impressive doorway was clearly one of those damaged and is surrounded in hoarding. You can see what it used to look like here, but this is its present appearance:
The architecture is described by UNESCO as being a fusion of “local traditions with Spanish Mudéjar and Dutch architectural techniques” but I have to say I’m struggling to find the Dutch influence.
I have built one of the other houses with a more interesting doorway, the Casa del Sol, named for the sun over the door – placed there as a symbol for god, according to Wikipedia.
Sadly the sun was too small to include in the Lego version, which I’ve also had to build in a less wonderful colour: