Cumaná (305,000 inhabitants) is the capital of Venezuela's Sucre State. It is located 402 km east of Caracas. It was one of the first settlements founded by Europeans on the South American mainland, in 1515 by Franciscan monks, but due to successful attacks by the indigenous people, it had to be refounded several times. For example, in 1521 by a group of Spaniards under the commanded of Gonzalo de Ocampo reestablished it, and again in 1569 Diego Fernandez de Serpa had to rebuild it. After Amerindian attacks became less of a threat, the city was on several occasions destroyed by earthquakes. Thus the oldest part of the city is late 17th and 18th century, almost none of the 16th century architecture survived.
Today the city, situated at the mouth of the Manzanares river on the Caribbean coast in the NE of Venezuela, is home to one of five sites for the Universidad del Oriente and a busy maritime city with one of the largest tuna fleets in Venezuela. The city is close to the Mochima National Park which boasts some of Venezuela's finest beaches.
The city features a wide variety of colonial style architecture that is still in excellent condition. A large old Spanish fort, the Castillo de San Antonio de la Eminencia (Castle of Saint Anthony of the Eminence) can be seen from the beach, which is still open to the public. Also surviving is the Castillo de Santa Maria de la Cabeza, which was built in 1669. The Museo del Mar displays marine and maritime artifacts.