Most of the buildings surrounding the plaza or square in the center of Trinidad belonged to the wealthy landowners and sugar traders of the day. All the colonial era properties surrounding the plaza date from the 18th and 19th centuries from a time when trade in sugar industry from the nearby Valle de los Ingenios and the slave trade brought great immense wealth to the whole area.
The trade in sugar decreased in Trinidad and when the slave trade ended in the mid-19th century, Trinidad lost much of its wealth at which time little building work continued until the end of the 1950s. For this reason, many of the historic buildings and streets were preserved, especially the grand colonial edifices surrounding the Plaza Mayor. Today, many of the former houses surrounding the square are museums dedicated to the period during which the city was a Mecca for the sugar trade.
The beautiful Plaza Mayor has numerous communal gardens on raised platforms, with pedestrian walkways traversing each garden. As a result the four small garden beds are fenced off by the original white wrought-iron fences of the day which have stood the test of time. Adding to the charm, cobbled streets circle the square, dividing it from surrounding properties. An additional treat for visitors are the original wrought-iron lamp-posts, English greyhound statues, and columns with large terra-cotta roofing to decorate the borders of the plaza.