Santiago de Cuba City
Live a unique experience visiting Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second more important city of Cuba. Located in the east part of the island, it was the last of the first seven villages, founded in 1515 by the Spanish conqueror Diego Velazquez de Cuéllar. Santiago de Cuba is hot, hilly and exhausting but at the same time seductively languid. Built on a sequence of hills overlooking a large bay with the Sierra Maestra in the background, it is certainly one of Cuba’s most picturesque cities. Its colourful streets sweep up and down steep hills, making walking through the city, although pleasant, a little tiring if done in long stretches. Santiago has a singular vibrancy. It’s very plentiful the mulatto people, a mix of Spanish, French from Haiti and huge numbers of Africans, which they are persistently friendly. Santiago de Cuba is considered to be the most Caribbean of cities in Cuba and is the traditional site of two important popular festivities: the Carnivals and the Fiesta del Fuego, or Feast of Fire.
It has plenty to offer for sightseers, blessed as it is with a host of interesting museums, buildings and places (Moncada Headquarters, Emilio Bacardi Museum, The Cathedral “Nuestra Señora de la Asunción”, Morro Castle, La Maison, Enramadas Street …) figures like a perfect formula for the lovers of the tourism in combination with a well conserved nature. This well-known park has a lot of attractiveness where you can find the famous stone zoo inside the well-known Valley of the Prehistory, the Museum of Car, the Aquarium and the Green Grassy Area of the Sculptures.
The Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Charity of the El Cobre, patron saint of the island, is a well-known and much frequented place where every year thousands people go in search of the hope to try make come true their dreams. In the surroundings of the city, La Gran Piedra – registered as the biggest stone of the world in the record Guinness book – it is erected majestic and imposing, with its near 70 thousand tons located about a thousand 220 meters over the sea level. The capital city has an unmistakable mark of a splendid bay, surrounded by mountains, watched by the Morro or San Pedro de la Roca castle, declared this last one by UNESCO in 1997 as a World Heritage Site.
This city has the necessary infrastructure to become a major site of tourism of events and congresses. And its mountains and maritime surroundings render it appropriate, too, for the enjoinment of nature tourism and tourism of adventure as well, for nautical activities, cruising, and health tourism. Visitors from any part of the world who are staying in Santiago de Cuba, whether in our casas particulares Cuba or in a hotel institution, can access several destinations that will make your visit to the island an unforgettable experience. Being one of the most important cities of Cuba and the area of the Caribbean in general, Santiago houses a significant number of historical and heritage sites, as is the case of Baconao Park, a territory that comprises approximately 84 600 hectares of World Biosphere Reserve. The park contains a large number of attractions and several coffee plantations. Several kilometers away, there is a large volcanic rock of 63 000 t. to which it is possible to climb through 459 stone steps to enjoy a unique panoramic view. Casas particulares Cuba
It is said that in the clear nights it is possible to observe the lights of the island of Jamaica and during the day they observe both coasts of the eastern region of Cuba if the cloudiness is scarce. Also in Santiago de Cuba is the valley of prehistory, which contains 227 sculptures made on a real scale of dinosaurs and prehistorically species. Another of the most attractive places for visitors is the Earth Transportation Museum, where 2500 miniature car replicas are shown. In the Baconao Lagoon, it recreates a fairly faithful reproduction of a Taino village, a tribe that inhabited Cuba when the European boats arrived on the island and you can enjoy a restaurant that specializes in seafood dishes. In the area near the Sierra Maestra, is located the archaeological landscape of the first coffee plantations in southwestern Cuba, declared World Heritage by UNESCO in the year 2000.
The remains of the nineteenth-century coffee plantations in Cuba are preserved, which constitute an exclusive sample of the technological, social and economic history not only of the country, but also of the whole area of the Caribbean and Ibero-America. An indisputable example of the military architecture during the colonial period in Cuba and the Italian Renaissance constructive design, the castle of San Pedro de la Roca, also declared by the UNESCO World Heritage Site, remains open to the public as Sample of the defensive activity of the Caribbean before the attacks of usurpers, Corsairs and Pirates to the territories of the Spanish Crown the fortress.
Built in 1638 in order to protect the Bay from naval attacks, El Morro de Santiago is considered by experts and historians as an architectural gem for the effective way in which the defensive and offensive qualities of the terrain are exploited. In the construction of a work of great aesthetic and functional value. The Bacardi Liquor company was also born in Santiago de Cuba, in 1862, and although the brand does not operate in the country since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the locals retain a large number of stories, anecdotes and traditions that revolve around the well-known company and its founder Facundo Bacardi, who resided in a luxurious mansion in the city.
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Founded in the second decade of the sixteenth century on the banks of the Paradas River, then moved to its current seat, the city of Santiago de Cuba eventually became the second of Cuba and the first of its eastern portion. With the city council almost since its foundation, the title of ”city” was received in 1522, the year in which the Cathedral was erected, the concession of such title at the beginning of the colonization, would be made to a reduced nucleus of population whose houses, of guano roof, were not – by their condition and construction – very far from the most current peasant constructions, with guano roof and walls of adobe and cujes. But to this humble germ of city came, coming from Baracoa, men like Hernan Cortés, Bartolome de las Casas, Anton de Alaminos, Bernal Diaz and others who, with time, would join their names to the conquest of an entire continent. Heading the contingent of founders was the advanced Diego Velázquez, who in a decade of government did not lay the foundations of the future city.
- Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro
- Moncada Museum Santiago de Cuba
- Cementerio Santa Ifigenia
- Cuartel Moncada
- Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
- Museo de la Lucha Clandestina
- Museo Municipal Emilio Bacardí Moreau
- Jardín de los Helechos
- Parque Alameda
Santiago de Cuba famous Moncada Barracks, a crenelated art-deco building completed in 1938, is now synonymous with one of history’s greatest failed putsches. Moncada earned immortality on July 26, 1953, when more than 100 revolutionaries led by then little-known Fidel Castro stormed Batista’s troops at what was then Cuba’s second-most important military garrison.
Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
Santiago de Cuba most important church is stunning both inside and out. There has been a cathedral on this site since the city’s inception in the 1520s, though a series of pirate raids, earthquakes and dodgy architects put paid to at least three previous incarnations. The present cathedral, characterized by its two neoclassical towers, was completed in 1922; the remains of first colonial governor, Diego Velázquez, are still buried underneath. The church was restored both inside and out for Santiago’s quincentennial in 2015. Expect intricate ceiling frescoes, hand-carved choir stalls and a polished altar honoring the venerated Virgen de la Caridad.
Jardín de los Helechos
This peaceful garden is a lush haven of 350 types of ferns and 90 types of orchids. It’s the erstwhile private collection of santiaguero Manuel Caluff, donated in 1984 to the Academia de Ciencias de Cuba (Cuban Academy of Science), which continues to keep the 3000-sq-meter garden in psychedelic bloom. The center of the garden has an inviting dense copse-cum-sanctuary dotted with benches. For the orchids, the best time is November to January. Bus 5 (20 centavos) from Plaza de Marte in central Santiago passes this way, or you can hire a taxi. It’s 2km from downtown Santiago de Cuba on the road to El Caney.