Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. Manatí was founded in 1738 by Don Pedro Menendez Valdes. The Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria church was built in the seventeenth century and is still standing in its original spot. Manati is known as La Ciudad Metropolitana (The Metropolitan City), and also as La Atenas de Puerto Rico, (The Athens of Puerto Rico). It is named after a sea mammal, the manatee (which are also known as sea cows).